Valdosta produce market talks local crops after storm damage

By: Noelani Mathews
September 7, 2016

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Customers scan the farm-fresh produce at Farmer Brown's Market in Valdosta.

"They just expect to come to the Farmer's Market and it'll always be there," says Philip Ethridge, Co-owner.

He says just weeks ago they were holding their breath, watching Hermine's path take a turn for South Georgia.

"Farming a lot of times is like taking all your money and putting it in a slot machine and pulling the handle one time."

They've been stocking homes and restaurants with produce since 1979.

He says it's all locally grown by more than 300 nearby farms.

"If we don't have the product to sell from the farmer, we're not in business."

Ethridge says they needed the rain, but not all at the same time.

In just a few weeks, he says it will be time to stock the shelves with squash, greens, and peas.

"The plants are so small right now. It didn't have a lot of an affect on them, so I think we're going to pull through okay."

While pecan groves took a blow from the storm, prices are expected to rise.

Ethridge says he isn't worried because he knows he has the community's support.

"Most people here believe in buying local and supporting the farmers. I talk to people all the time and they say I don't care if it costs more, I'm going to buy local."

Farmer Brown's Produce Market will continue putting farm-fresh food on the table for many more years to come.