On the beautiful riverbank of the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa on Saturday mornings you can find local farmers setup at the River Market selling their goods. Summer is the perfect time to head that way for all your produce and so much more. My husband and I enjoy going on Saturday mornings to run along the river and then do some shopping at the market. You can find everything from fresh peaches, honey, and eggs to homemade soap and lotion- all while supporting our local farmers. I turned to one of the directors of the market to get more insight and answer some questions you might have had yourself.

Where is the River Market and what days/times is it open? Is it year around?
1900 Jack Warner Pkwy, across from the Tuscaloosa Library. The Farmers market is open every Saturday from 7am – Noon, year round and Tuesdays seasonally.

Is the market only produce or what else can be purchased?
It is a growers only market. If you don’t grow it, then you don’t sell it. There are a few arts/crafts vendors, but we must maintain a 70% farmer participation to be accredited. But some of our other vendors for example make & sell: Goat cheese, soap, & custom cutting boards. We have fresh cheesecake and other baked goods as well as locally raised beef and pork.

Do the vendors take cash only or is credit card purchases allowed?
Most of the vendors accept cash only, but a growing number are accepting credit cards. We have an ATM on site for your convenience.

What is the advantage of shopping at the market verses the grocery store?
Obviously it’s better quality and you see where your food is coming from. If you’ve never had a home grown tomato before then you better reevaluate your priorities …a good tomato will change your life. Most (not all) Grocery store tomatoes are picked up north when they are still green then gassed to produce the red hue…yuck. Keep in mind that a good number of our farmers sell to grocery stores, but buying straight from the grower sustains their existence.

What does someone need to do if they are interested in becoming a vendor?
We are full and not accepting any more vendors.

Is there a place for people to get more information on the River Market?

Whenever possible, buy from local farmers or farmers’ markets. Not only will your food be better quality but also you will keep your money in the local economy. Buying local will reduce the amount of greenhouse gas created when food has
to be flown or trucked in. Nowadays, it is not only things like sugar, coffee, chocolate, tea, and bananas that are shipped long distances. Fruits and vegetables that were once grown locally in household gardens and small farms are now being shipped
into the United States from other countries. It is estimated that the average American meal travels 1500 miles to get from the
farm to your plate. In order to transport
food long distances, much of it is picked while still unripe and then gassed to “ripen” it after transport. Produce is also lasting longer for transport through the use of preservatives and irradiation to keep it stable for a longer shelf life. Remember,
we are what we eat. When these preservatives and other chemicals are mixed in our food, they do not magically go away when consumed. Have fun this summer and make sure the River Market here in Tuscaloosa is on your list of things to do. Along with the vendors selling things, they also have various activities going on that are family oriented. You can check out their website for more information and updates. Not only will you find some of the freshest produce and other items around, you will be supporting our local farmers, which is so important.

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