Painted faces and fresh strawberries at Homegrown Alabama.

Little B.’s free face painting from Homegrown Alabama.

I love Homegrown Alabama. The people are as locally-fresh and unfabricated as the veggies, cheeses, and craftmanship we find there.

The Eldest didn’t shy away from face painting.

A few weeks ago, we went straight from ballet to the Homegrown Alabama market on the UA campus (located on the front lawn of our church). Prophet couldn’t resist pointing out that we hadn’t “been to church in years“, by which I think she meant weeks.

While the Eldest hunted down tomatoes, Gnome, Prophet, and Little B. hung out in the children’s area in the hopes of getting as many animals painted on their faces and hands as time would permit.

I discovered a delicious new goat cheese, purchased a Left Hand soap gift for Bill’s super-late birthday present, scored another bottle of Hewett’s honey, and simply enjoyed being able to touch and sample local creations while the little people were otherwise occupied.

Little B. is upset that I agree to take a picture of Prophet as well.

Then there were the strawberries….

Alabama homegrown strawberries for the taste test.

Originally, I purchased the strawberries to toss with the hearty arugula from Snow Bend’s farm, but my salad plans fell apart upon our return to the castle. You see, the kids decided the weather was perfect for the succulent sweetnesss, as indicated by their boisterous parade bringing grocery-store strawberries into the backyard.

“Why not turn this into a contest?” I inquired. “Let’s pit homegrown strawberries against those of Winn-Dixie. The winner receives the Coryell Castle Seal of Approval.”

More cheers and merry-making, a consensus to taste-test had been established.

The results of the taste conclusively determined that the homegrown strawberries tasted better- “more tart and tangy”- than the grocery store strawberries.

In less than five minutes, two bowls of strawberries had disappeared from the planet known to its inhabitants as Earth. Alas, my arugula-strawberry salad with goat cheese will have to wait until next week- next Thursday, to be precise.

Officially, in the overly-concise language of nonprofit mission statements:

You can visit the Homegrown Alabama Farmers Market at the Canterbury Episcopal Chapel lawn every Thursday, April 17- October 23 from 3:00–6:00 p.m. It’s a lovely segue between school and dinner- a lovely way to fill in the blanks of what should be brought to table.