Rain for crops is a great thing; many farmers pray for rain to help water their vegetation. However, this year, Carroll County farmers have seen their share of torrential rainfalls, making it hard for them to do the work they need to harvest a good crop.
Alonzo Lee, the owner of the Coila Crossroads Farmer’s Market, said he and his growers are feeling it.
“I couldn’t get into my hoop house to do anything this year,” Lee said, pointing at the overgrown vegetation. Luckily, his herbs have done well.
Lee said they’re in the sixth year of the farmer’s market. He said some years the harvest has been plentiful, so plentiful he and his sons don’t get a chance actually to set up the farmer’s market, they sell to the people who stopped.
“We couldn’t even get it in fast enough, people would drive by and see us out and stop,” he said. “It shows that fresh produce is a necessity around here. People like it.”
Although his garden didn’t thrive this year, he’s grown okra, tomatoes, purple hull peas and corn and all have done well.
He and a few of his growers set up near his hoop house and hold a farmer’s market on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. However, Lee said they hadn’t set up yet because of the rain washing away the potential harvest. However, his basil, cilantro, oregano have grown well in his hoop house, and he dries them out and sells them bottled.
“People love buying them. They love using them for different things,” he said.
Not only does the corner hold the farmer’s market, but it also houses the family’s Thrift Store.
“We are full, and we are still taking donations,” he said. “We get a lot of donations from Winona. They’re very good to us.”
He said his family also travels around to festivals selling homemade pork skins and cracklings.
“We’ve been to Mobile, Long Beach, Miss.; we just travel from festival to festival.” He said they also set up in Winona and Carrollton, selling skins and cracklings.
With them being on the road so much, it’s hard for them to run the thrift store.
“We’re looking for someone to run it full time for us,” Lee said.
Also, the family is planning their annual Coila Festival on Aug. 31.
“This is our third year. We’ve had it before, but we skipped some years and decided to bring it back,” he said. He said the festival would be from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. and there will be vendors, arts, crafts, food, entertainment and more.
He said they’re hoping to get 25 vendors to come and set up, right now they have 11, and he’s hoping to bring in a good crowd.
“We’re estimating 400- 600 people to show up,” he said. Lee said local church choirs will perform; there will be a DJ, a bounce house for kids, horseback riding, go-kart riding and more.
Lee said there are also plans for an outside kitchen and a strip mall on the property also.