After opening the market, he purchased a small amount of pansies to sell in his store. In the following months, the Burrises built a greenhouse and opened a garden center in 2000. There they sell shrubs, trees, and other plants to their customers, along with the materials needed to help them grow.
“They are like old family members I guess,” said Burris.
The store gets the produce from different local farmers, and they have about 40-50 staff members throughout the seasons. One of the benefits of buying local is that much of the produce is picked by farmers and then sold to the store on the same day, said Burris. Another benefit is that they sell produce that may not be sold at other grocery stores, such as butter beans and shell peas, said Burris.
“From the Farmer’s Market perspective, I think it has helped bring fresh fruits and vegetables back into the hands of people,” said Andy Burris.
Tomatoes are their number one selling product, and Burris said it is important to him and the customer that he finds home grown and flavor-packed tomatoes. During the holidays, the market offers seasonal items such as pumpkins, gourds, hay bales, and corn stalks. They even offer to set up and deliver Christmas trees during the winter. After the holiday season is over, they provide services to pickup the tree and vacuum the needles from the floor.
Though Burris buys his produce locally, he said it has become more difficult to find good produce all the time.
“A lot of our farmers that I’ve dealt with are part of an older generation, and there aren’t many younger farmers getting into the business,” said Burris.
Due to the fact that the Burris family works closely with the farmers, they have been able to establish lasting relationships. Smith Farms grow their peaches and have sold them to the market since the beginning. However, they have recently retired, but Burris said they are still very close to the family.
Since opening the farmer’s market and garden center, the Burris family opened another store in Hoover in 2010. This store is a mix between a garden center and a fresh market. To learn more information, visit andysgardencenter.com.
Sarah Westmoreland is a junior majoring in journalism with a visual concentration and minoring in photography. Among other things, she is a photographer for UA’s Alice Magazine and runs her own photography business. She currently resides in Buford, Georgia, and upon graduation hopes to become a photojournalist for National Geographic.