Northwest Florida produce vendors offer local bounty

courtney welch farmers markets produce

LEFT: Betty Courtney displays a box of fresh tomatoes at the Brooks Farm produce stand in Baker. RIGHT: Larry Welch assures a customer that a fresh supply of watermelons will arrive shortly at his north Crestview produce stand from his Laurel Hill farm.

BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin
Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 05:28 PM.

CRESTVIEW — With her arms filled with a ripe cantaloupe and bags of peas and tomatoes, Mary Goldring said her stop at the Brooks Farm produce stand in Baker Thursday morning was a success.

"Everything's fresher when it's right off the farm," she said. "I could almost eat these tomatoes on the drive home."

The late spring and summer vegetables have been piling in from the fields, stand worker Betty Courtney said. Peaches and tomatoes are at their peak right now, she said.

"Corn, peas and watermelons are selling real well," Courtney said. "The corn sells really good. And we've been selling peanuts faster than we can boil them."

Farmers markets throughout the area are bustling as produce ripens after weeks of Northwest Florida's nourishing rain and sunshine.

"I've got some giant watermelons this year," Larry Welch said from his family's stand near Blueberry Curve, at which they sell produce grown on his Crestview plot and his Laurel Hill farm.

However, excessive rain has hurt some crops. Welch said his cantaloupe crop hasn't been as bountiful this year as in the past.

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