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.
"All this rain has hurt us," he said. "Too much rain is like too little rain."
South of Laurel Hill, Farm and Garden World hosts its monthly Third Saturday Market this morning, starting at 8 a.m.
"It's been pretty successful," the store's Tina Alford said. "It's picked up people every month we've done it."
Now in its third month, the market, held in the store's parking lot, attracts upward of 20 farmers and private gardeners, Alford said.
Friday’s Downtown Farmers Market, on the Main Street and Woodruff Avenue site of Crestview's old Curb Market, was bustling, with all available spots booked in advance.
On weekends, the impromptu market that sprouts on the lot across North Ferdon Boulevard from Goodwill features fresh peaches, produce, and sometimes seafood.
"We've got it pretty good up here," Goldring said. "The people in the south end, they just grow sand."
Want farm-fresh produce?
Area farmers' markets and produce stands include:
•Brooks Farm Market, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, State Road 4, Baker, just after entering town
•Downtown Farmers Market, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Fridays, corner of Woodruff Avenue and Main Street, Crestview. 546-6274. Evening Farmers, Artisans & Music Market, 6-8 p.m. Fridays
• Produce stands, State Road 85, corner of Seventh Street, opposite Goodwill; most weekends, hours vary, but setup is usually by 8 a.m.
•Third Saturday Garden Market, monthly, 8 a.m. till closing, Farm and Garden World, 7488 State Road 85, south of Laurel Hill, 652-2999
• Welch's Garden Fresh Produce, 5771 State Road 85 N, right before Blueberry Curve, 603-2234
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.