Springtime is beautiful and bountiful

Downtown Oneonta is bursting with color courtesy of the Beautification Board.

Downtown Oneonta is bursting with color courtesy of the Beautification Board.

It is the time of year that people love. Spring is in the air and people are taking advantage of it. As you ride throughout the county, people are mowing their yards, tilling up the land for gardens, and laying down new mulch to create a beautiful array of flowers and plants around their homes. Wild flowers have also begun creating beautiful scenery.

Children are once again playing outside, riding bicycles, or playing on the swings. Springtime sports are underway. People are taking advantage of the milder weather the county has experienced over the past few days.

Tomato farmers are prepping their fields with new plastic and aligning each row with care. Strawberry farmers are carefully watching as the fruit continues to ripen to perfection before picking. Plans for other crops are underway.

Soon there will be a wide variety of fresh local produce such as corn, squash, melons, berries, and so much more located at roadside stands, the farmers market, personal gardens, or adorning citizens’ tables for consumption.

This pink beauty can be seen on Second Street North in Oneonta.

This pink beauty can be seen on Second Street North in Oneonta.

Produce stands have reopened, and while it’s too early for local produce, they offer a large variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for a delectable meal or scrumptious snack. Many also have a wide variety of hanging baskets to spruce up your porch or outdoor lounging area. It is truly a bountiful season.

For those who are waiting for the reopening of the Blount County Farmers Market, it will be just a few more weeks before they are open for business. At the end of March, a representative from the Blount County Commission and the Alabama Farmers Market Authority met to discuss the possibility of continuing to use the former Blount-Oneonta Agribusiness Center as its home base. Approval was granted.

The market will open on May 15 and will continue to operate on an abbreviated Saturday schedule until June 5. Saturday operation hours will be the usual 7 a.m. until farmers sell out or 1 p.m.

After the first Saturday in June, the market will begin its normal hours of Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 7 a.m. until they sell out or 1 p.m., whichever comes first. The market will remain open on the designated days until Oct. 31. As in the past, buyers are encouraged to get to the market early to get the best selection and avoid being disappointed if something is sold out.

During that meeting, the Blount County Farmers Market Advisory Committee was established for the upcoming year. Members of the committee will gather concerns and issues and serve as a spokesperson for the farmers market. Officers for the upcoming year are Johnny Roberts, Nathan David, Charles Faulkner, and Debbie Frost. A market manager, who is not a farmer, will be appointed in the near future.

Anyone is welcomed to participate in selling produce at the market; however, a permit is required. Permits and a copy of the rules can be obtained at the Alabama Cooperative Extension Office in Oneonta.

Blount County is beautiful and offers so much for everyone to enjoy. Whether it is enjoying the natural beauty, creating a beautiful assortment of manmade areas across the county, or supporting those who work tirelessly to supply local fruits and vegetables, take a moment to enjoy our county and everything it has to offer.