When Larry and Deborah Keel started their new Farmer’s Market on East Laurel Street in Scottsboro, they had a few things in mind.
As previous owners of an outdoor market, the Keels wanted something indoors so customers could stay cool and produce could stay fresher longer.
“We opened on April 24,” Deborah said, “and customers love the new place.”
Their previous stand was located next to Captain D’s and closed about nine years ago. The new market was a spur-of-the-moment idea, and the Keels are excited about its potential.
“We were blessed to find this place,” Deborah said. “We got it ready in about a month. My friend, Deborah George, painted fruits and vegetables on the walls for us, and it looks really nice.”
The market is open Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Wednesday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
“We close a little early on Wednesdays for church,” she said. “We attend Willow Street Baptist, and I usually cook for about 50 people each week there.”
A former lunchroom worker at Scottsboro Junior High School, Deborah loves to cook and puts some personal touches on a few items in the market.
“I shell and bag purple hull peas and break the green beans so customers can buy them ready to cook,” she said. “I add a few baby potatoes to the bag so all they have to do is add a little oil and seasoning and they are ready to go.
“I also shuck the corn and bag it if they prefer not to do it,” she said.
For now, most of the produce and vegetables come from Birmingham, but the Keels plan to incorporate local farmers soon.
“We get some of our stuff locally already,” she said. “We sell Sand Mountain Honey and sorghum and salsa, and our strawberries come from Durham Farms. We’ve talked to a few area farmers and when the season comes in, we are going to get a lot of things from them.”
The Keel’s daughter, Holly, helps out at the market when Deborah or Larry cannot be there.
“We restock two to three times each week,” Deborah said. “We’ve got a steady flow of customers and business is growing.”
Larry and Sandra Baty, of Scottsboro, are among repeat customers.
“I like being able to buy the amount I need to cook a meal without having to buy large quantities,” Sandra said. “I like the shelled peas because they are really convenient.”
Along with standard items like tomatoes, potatoes and squash, the market stocks dozens of items like pineapple, eggplant and avocados as well.
“It’s very convenient,” said repeat customer Bettye Ritchie. “Scottsboro needs something like this.”
“We try to keep a good variety,” Deborah said. “Some of our best-sellers are our tomatoes and the Chilton County peaches. Watermelon and Cantaloupe are also good sellers this time of year. We want customers to find what they need. I really enjoy having the market. I love meeting different people and seeing some of our customers from the past come in.”
For more information, contact D&L Farmers Market at: 256-244-4898.