Homegrown Alabama to host Melon Festival

Karly Weigel

Homegrown Alabama will host its first annual Melon Festival at Canterbury Episcopal Church Thursday. The event is open to the public.

Various types of watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe will be for sale. Vendors will also have summer produce such as okra, tomatoes, eggplant, peas, goat cheese and naturally raised beef. Other items for sale include flowers, soap and herbs.

Letterpress posters printed by Kate K. Barber will be available for purchase, and new 2013 Homegrown Alabama T-shirts and reusable tote bags will also be for sale. Activities for children include melon bowling, rind toss and watermelon sun catchers. Melon samples will also be available.

Mo Fiorella, the Homegrown Alabama market manager, describes Homegrown Alabama as an important asset to the Tuscaloosa community.

“We like to think our first Thursday events remind people that farmers markets are fun and that they are happening,” Fiorella said. “They bring people together and encourage more people to shop for healthy, fresh, local food. They also stimulate sales, which is good for our local economy.”

Homegrown Alabama will host the Back-to-School BBQ Tailgate Sept. 5. Visitors can enjoy barbeque and sample different side dishes. Live music, kids’ crafts and take-home recipes will be available. The tailgate hopes to remind visitors that the market will be around for two more months until fall break.

Andrew Kesterson, owner of Belle Meadow Farm, is a new farmer and vendor at Homegrown Alabama.

“Homegrown Alabama contributes to Tuscaloosa by giving all residents another option to buy local food that is healthy and delicious,” Kesterson. “Some people also may not be able to find time to make it to the other markets during the week and Homegrown offers a third day during the week that all Tuscaloosans can buy local produce. It also offers a convenient option for the University community to buy local produce and to support their local community.”

Kesterson grows watermelon, a single variety of cantaloupe, honeydew and a “french melon” type of cantaloupe.

Students and faculty are able to pay with Bama Cash as well as EBT payment. Homegrown Alabama is held on the lawn at Canterbury Episcopalian Church on Hackberry Lane between University Boulevard and Paul Bryant Drive.