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Jonathan Moseley sets up a booth at the farmer's market where locals have access to tomatoes several months earlier than other farms. ELLEN KENNEDY

Robertson County farmers prepare for a variety of produce options to become available to locals as the weather continues to get warmer.

 

Farmers have started their spring harvest, and people can expect to see “cool weather” crops like turnip greens and mustard greens as well as broccoli, onions, strawberries and such available at the farmer’s market and local stores in the area. 

 

Other produce such as peaches, blackberries, sweet corn and tomatoes will become available later in the summer as temperatures continue to rise into the 80s and higher.

 

Hancock Family Farms

 

The Hancock Family Farm located in Springfield already had a great start to their season when they sold out of strawberries on the first Saturday of the farmer’s market on May 9. In addition to strawberries, they have lettuce, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and turnip greens available to buy at both the farmer’s market on Saturdays and their store on Highway 49 East in Springfield.

 

“We’ve got lettuce and broccoli and asparagus,” owner Jodi Hancock said. “Our girls have hens, so we’ve got eggs that they sell at the store. We just need a little meat at the store, and we would never have to go to the grocery store in the summer.”

 

Locals can look forward to seeing blackberries around mid-June and sweet corn, squash, cucumbers and zucchini by the end of June. By July 4, the remaining produce generally comes into season like peaches, tomatoes and okra. 

 

“Once we start getting 80 to 85-degree weather, (cool weather) crops will be gone,” Hancock said.

 

The Hancock Family Farm Market provides numerous local produce options which can be viewed on their website at https://www.hancockfamilyfood.com/market-products . The website updates frequently to display what produce and other items are available to purchase at different parts of the season.

 

Jonathan Moseley Family Farms

 

Jonathan Moseley Family Farms in Adams stands out amongst the farmers in Robertson County due to his use of a hot house. Warmed by the use of propane gas, the hot house allows for the early growth of produce like tomatoes which naturally requires hot weather to grow. 

 

This season will be the second year Moseley has used a hot house. He first came across the idea while on a trip with the Montgomery County Co-Op where they toured hot houses in Granger County, Tenn.

 

“It just looked like a neat idea and something fun to do, so I decided to try it,” Moseley said. “It’s taken a year but I’m still learning, but it’s been fairly successful especially first trying it.”

 

Moseley has the ability to offer locals red tomatoes, purple tomatoes and cherry tomatoes months ahead of when traditional farms would normally be able to. Towards the end of May into June, cabbage, broccoli, onions and potatoes will also become available. 

 

While this is only his third-year farming produce, Moseley has been farming tobacco his whole life. Tobacco appears to be experiencing a decline which prompted Moseley to venture into other areas of the farming industry in addition to the tobacco crops.

 

“It’s seems like every year it’s less and less you’re able to raise. Demand (for tobacco) is going down, so I was looking for something more steady (and) more long term,” Moseley said. “I was trying to get out ahead of the curve before I had to supplement. I was trying to find something and learn about something while I have time.”

 

Jonathan Moseley Family Farm attends the weekly farmer’s market every Saturday where people can buy his tomatoes and other produce by the pound. For those who can’t make it to the farmer’s market, Moseley offers to meet people whenever they contact him. Information and announcements about the farm can be found on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/JonathanMoseleyFamilyFarms/ .

 

Cedar Grove Farms

 

Cedar Grove Farms of Cross Plains started their season off by selling out of all their produce the opening Saturday of the Robertson County Farmer’s Market. After only two hours, owner Cecil Pitts sat empty handed once his spring greens had been bought. Pitt’s spring greens include turnip and mustard greens, and early types of lettuce and spinach.

 

“Sometimes you don’t sell completely out. You might have a little bit left, but we always seem to manage to find a place for it because some of the stuff we bring home and put it up ourselves,” Pitts said. 

 

Broccoli, green onions, cabbage, Romaine lettuce and Bok choy are expected to be ready in several weeks. Peaches, tomatoes, sweet corn, blackberries and several other crops will be available at the beginning of July and continue through August and September.

 

“July is your primo month for the farmer’s market because everything is pretty much in at that time,” Pitts said.

 

With the recent unusual cold weather, Pitts believes he lost almost a third of his peach crop to the freeze. Unfortunately, peaches are a once a year type of crop and won’t bloom again until next season. It’s not a total loss but does limit the number of peaches that will reach maturity.

 

People can purchase Cedar Grove Farm produce at the weekly farmer’s market as well as onsite farm sells when peaches and blackberries are ready for harvesting. Most produce can be bought by the box or by the bag and blackberries by the pint. 

 

“I’m retired and (farming) is something I’m doing in retirement because I enjoy fooling with it,” Pitts said.

 

Cedar Grove Farms posts updates and information about their crops through their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Cedar-Grove-Farms-319046751471028/. 

 

The Robertson County Farmer’s Market will continue be held every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of September unless otherwise discussed. A list of upcoming vendors and updates for be found on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RCFarmersMarket/.

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