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Officials set hours for farmer’s market

 Russellville city council members met with local farmers and a representative from the Franklin County extension office Monday night to set new days and hours of operation for the county’s farmer’s market.

The market will be open from 6 a.m. to noon Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday each week.

County extension coordinator Katernia Cole was visibly upset as she addressed the council and farmers Monday night over an issue that she said “should have been handled in Franklin County.”

Apparently someone called the extension’s state office to complain about the local market.

“That was disrespectful to me and my office,” Cole said. “This should have stopped here in Franklin County.”

The market had been open six days a week, which Cole said was too many for a county this size.

“There are very few farmer’s markets in Alabama that open six days a week,” she said.

An initial plan had the market’s hours set for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays, but farmers felt that kept them from being able to sell at other area markets.

“The farmers felt a little locked in,” said Ruby Allen, who manages the market through the Russellville Parks and Recreation Department.

Roger Puckett of Burnout, who represented some of the farmers, said he was worried about rules being enforced that will keep people from buying produce at other markets and selling them in Franklin County.

The market follows rules from the Alabama Farmers Market Authority, which states that farmers are required to grow and sell their own produce. Sellers are not allowed to buy produce and resell it.

During the council’s work session Monday, city officials and local farmers agreed to the new hours and days.