It’s tomato time!

- Janet Dooley

– Janet Dooley

After months of waiting, vine-ripe Blount County tomatoes are beginning to emerge. Farmers are reporting that delicious, vine-ripened tomatoes will be plentiful within the next couple of weeks.

Blount Countians are truly blessed to have such a wide range of homegrown produce right at our doorstep. In every part of the county, farms and gardens are producing fresh fruits and vegetables that we can obtain in just a few short minutes from our home.

Looking at the list of produce currently available, you might have a hard time deciding what to eat or cook first. The farmers are doing an amazing job keeping a wide variety of vegetables available for consumption.

Whited Farms in Oneonta, reports they now have locally grown pink and green Better Boy tomatoes. In addition, you will find cabbage, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, sweet banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, and peaches available.

Snead Produce has been busy in the fields gathering green Blount County tomatoes, bell peppers, squash, cucumbers, sweet banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, cabbage, new red potatoes, as well as little red creamer potatoes. With two locations to serve you, stop by and check out all they have to offer.

- Blount County Farmers Market | Facebook

– Blount County Farmers Market | Facebook

Barb’s Berries and Blessings Orchard at 8475 County Highway 27 on Straight Mountain continues to have beautiful locally grown blueberries. The field is available for u-pick berries as well. Barbara can be reached at 205-281-6963.

Be sure to stop by Copeland Farms at 205 Cliff Springs Road for Malibu pole beans, squash, sweet and jalapeno peppers, cucumbers, and maybe even a few ears of corn. And, for those who have been awaiting some of his sweet cantaloupe, Copeland reports they will be ready beginning next week.

Cantaloupes, as well as green Blount County tomatoes, can be found at Hazelrig Orchard in Cleveland. In addition, make sure you have plenty of room in your car to choose from their wide selection of Red Haven, Bounty, and Flaming Fury freestone peaches, plums, nectarines, blueberries, okra, yellow squash, cucumbers, zucchini, bell peppers, sweet banana peppers, and jalapeno peppers. Check out Hazelrig Orchards on Facebook for more information.

McCray’s Old Field Farm still has a good selection of yellow crookneck squash and green beans. Other produce such as butternut squash, cucumbers, zucchini, and peppers are available depending on the weather and production. Call 205-353-5506 to get up-to-date availability. Located just outside Oneonta on Ala 132, you will find a wide variety of jams, jellies, syrup, dried tea, soap, lotion, and salve made from plants raised on Old Field Farm.

Owner Suzy McCray has just made a large batch of blueberry, watermelon, and dandelion jelly that is now available for purchase. And, if poison oak is your nemesis, go by and purchase a bar of locally made goat milk soap or herbal salve to help ease any discomfort.

In addition to field tomatoes, Witt Farms in Nectar now offers clear seed or freestone peaches. You will also find squash, cucumbers, Vidalia onions, plums, nectarines, and blackberries. They sell homemade peanut brittle that is absolutely delicious.

Allman Farm and Orchard continues to harvest a large variety of produce. This week they have Red Haven and Window peaches, yellow squash, pickling cucumbers, and yellow onions. It is a good possibility that they will have corn and tomatoes by this weekend. Curbside service is available. Allman Farm and Orchard also accepts Farmer’s Market Nutritional Program vouchers.

Venturing over to Straight Mountain’s Baswell Farms on County Highway 12, you will find squash, cucumbers, bell peppers, banana peppers, cubanelle peppers, and jalapeno peppers for sale. They will have ripe tomatoes in about a week. Okra will also be available soon.

And last, but not least, locally grown fruits and vegetables can be found at the Blount County Farmer’s Market each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning, from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m., or until they sell out. The market will be open on Saturday, July 4. Be sure to stop by and get any last minute produce needs.

Both traditional red tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes can now be found throughout the market. If you are looking for traditional red tomatoes, the celebrity might be a good choice. If heirloom tomatoes are more of what you have in mind, you will find Cherokee purple, carbon, and chef’s choice, a cross between the Cherokee and carbon tomato, as part of your selection.

Okra has become more plentiful at the market over the past few days. Peaches-and-cream corn from Greer’s Farm in Locust Fork is now available. Baskets of rattlesnake green beans, blue lake green beans, and purple hull peas are ready. You will also find cabbage, a wide variety of peppers, squash, cucumbers, potatoes, peaches, and blackberries at the market, and they are in high demand.

Thanks to Carolyn Bellew and Janet Dooley, a selection of fried pies is available on Saturday mornings. In addition to fresh produce and fried pies, you will find other delectable goodies made from Blount County produce such as jellies, pepper sauce, pickled okra, cucumber salad, best yet pickled vegetables, a mix of canned brussel sprouts and cauliflower, as well as chow chow.

During this part of the year, there is an overlap of many items, so be sure to get there early, and check out each vendor’s selection before making a final purchase decision. The farmer’s want return business; therefore, they offer their best selections for purchase.