Fresh produce -- I can always find room in our RV for it! We stop at farmers markets and road side stands wherever we find them. The Cordele Farmers Market in Georgia is a favorite. More than a place to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, it’s a sensory delight.
Watermelons! Red, yellow, and orange. Big and small. Round and oblong.
With seeds and without. Dark green, light green, with stripes and
without. Truckloads of watermelon – semi trucks, farm trucks, and
pick-up trucks. Plus, school busses turned into watermelon wagons, and
assorted trailers, all piled with watermelons. Cordele claims the title
of watermelon capital of the world. There are entire sections in the
market devoted to watermelons. Some are restricted to wholesale dealers.
Others are open to retail and wholesale buyers. Watermelon could be had
for a mere dollar each.
Cantaloupes, too. Though not nearly as many as watermelons, there were truckloads of cantaloupes. Mostly, these were in pick-up trucks or stacked on trailers. Some bought one or two cantaloupes, adding them to the assorted produce in their bags. Others bought a dozen or more, which they would then resell.
Peanuts! Particularly Valencia green peanuts. At the Cordele Farmers
Market you can get small, snack-size bags of fried peanuts. You can get
huge, 50-pound bags of raw peanuts. We bought a medium size bag. We will
now need to learn how to boil peanuts. A friend here is looking forward
to helping us with that.
And, onions, particularly Vidalia onions. Eighty farmers in 20
southeastern Georgia counties grow these sweet orbs. They make up 40
percent of the entire sweet onion market in the U.S.A. In 2017, Georgia
growers harvested nearly 230 million pounds of Vidalia onions. Yes,
we’ve been eating onions, three and four times a day, even.
And peaches. After all, we are in Georgia, the Peach State. We visited the market on a Saturday in July. It was hot and humid – a perfect day for ice cream. The ice cream we found at the farmers market wasn’t just any ice cream. It was rich, sweet, full-of-juicy-ripe-Georgia-peaches ice cream. Luscious. Decadent.
Tomatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, plums, okra, eggplants, cucumbers,
assorted greens, yellow squash, zucchini squash, butternut squash, and
sweet corn…. You could buy this produce by the single piece or in
amounts large enough to stock a supermarket.
I looked at the bushel baskets of sweet potatoes and then at Bob for some reassuring sign. Surely we could use a bushel of them. They’re good for us, high in vitamin A, fiber, and potassium. We settled on two bags full, sale priced at $1.00 per bag.
And, peas! Oh, the many different kinds of peas – pink eyes, purple eyes, crowders, and creamers.
Additionally, there were jams, honeys, relishes, pickles, and candies. There were pecans in the shell, out of the shell, and candied. At one booth, they were selling crafts along with the produce. Another had a few baked goods. But, for the most part, the Cordele Farmers Market is all about fruits and vegetables.
Now, to find room in this small motorhome! Baskets, bins, and boxes overflow with piled high produce. We’ll eat much of it fresh. If we see that we have an excess of something, we’ll freeze it or dehydrate it.
The Cordele State Farmers Market is open and busy every day during watermelon season. It is also open during the off season. You find the market at 1901 U. S. Highway 41 North, Cordele, Georgia. The phone number to call for detailed information is 229-276-2335.