PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WRBL) — Armed with portable fans, sunhats, tents and shade from local trees, farmers market sellers were ready to battle the heat.
The thermometer read 91 degrees and the noontime sun beat down on Phenix City’s Garrett Harrison Stadium, which hosts the Russell County Farmers Market every Thursday and Saturday from May through November.
“I got a high tolerance for stuff and it doesn’t bother me,” said Todd Covel of T&T Products, as he sat under a shade tent with a portable fan blowing onto him.
He gestured toward his blue and white cooler and said, “I have plenty of water.”
Covel is a recent addition to the farmers market. The seller has only come out for the past five Thursdays and Saturdays to sell his homemade pickles and spicy jellies. He said he usually stays for about 90 minutes to two hours before heading home.
Julio Morales of Garden of Eden has been selling tropical plants, like orchids, at the Russell County Farmers Market for multiple years straight.
“It’s hot,” he said, noting the shade from tents and nearby trees helped, as well as the breeze created by cars passing by.
“The plants are loving it [the heat] with all the humidity,” Morales said with a smile. He added he usually spends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the market when he comes.
Morales explained he has been working with tropical plants for more than two decades, continuing the legacy of his father who used to grow orchids. He said he started growing tropical houseplants during the pandemic when he was furloughed at his day job.
For Antoine Louder with Lake City Produce & Grocery, the heat is nothing new. He said he spends most days working in the sun, so it wasn’t anything out of the normal.
“Today is pretty cool,” he said as he stood near the business’ watermelon truck in a baseball cap. The business’ owner, Clarence D. of Eufala, Alabama also appeared prepared for the heat he sat by Lake City truck filled with watermelons in his wheelchair with a Gatorade.
Farmers market guests didn’t seem too bothered by the temperature either. A steady stream stopped by the parking lot to check out the sellers there.
Louder estimated Lake City Produce & Grocery would sell 60 to 80 watermelons over the course of the day. Since setting up shop a little more than an hour prior, Covel had already sold out of his kosher pickles and half of his bread-and-butters.