Mark's Mart is hard to describe; it combines an old-fashioned general store and a farmer's market of locally-created sauces, spices, meats, and assorted local fare.
Mark's Mart has two locations in West Alabama, Selma and the Tuscaloosa sister city of Northport.
It focuses first on Alabama-grown products – local eggs, dairy, pies, peanuts of all descriptions, honey and more.
It has a few Southern regional offerings.
The slogan of Mark's Mart could be "Alabama First."
On game day at the University of Alabama, Mark's Mart overflows with out-of-town shoppers and tailgaters buying boxes of treats for pre-game. They take call-in orders, so you won't have to fight the crowd.
"Chicken Swirl," an original concoction of Mark's Mark, is as Alabama as it gets – chicken wrapped in bacon with a Chicken Swirl Sauce of secret ingredients. Alabama chicken and Alabama bacon.
The Alabama beef section stocks "WAGYU of Alabama," a Selma company since 2009. WAGYU is famous for an extensive selection of beef: Brisket, chuck meat, Delmonico, Fajita strips, filet, ground beef, kidney, liver, tongue, oxtail and ribeye bone-in. All Alabama.
Pies and cakes include Labbe's Pies of Selma, Cotton Blue Cheesecake and Dean's CakeHouse of Andalusia.
Alabama is quite the syrup capital with Golden Eagle from Fayette – sopping syrup. The pride of Alabama. AlaGa Syrup is from Montgomery.
Eggs from Turker Creek farms in Ralph and Katie Farms in Coker.
Whole milk from Circle J Dairy in Gordo.
Jams from Alabama Sunshine.
Tacos from Jalapnos.
Casseroles from DirtRoadGourmet.com in Eclectic.
Peanuts prepared every way you can think of, and some you have never thought of from the Alabama Peanut Producers Association.
Local honey from Southern Ambrosia Honey in Selma.
Black Warrior Coffee from Tuscaloosa.
Noodie's Barbeque Sauce from Plantersville.
Details and operating hours at both locations can be found here.
I would not be surprised if some national franchisor were to swoop into Northport and Selma and offer to begin replicating Mark's Mart in major cities across the United States. Each mart could feature the fare of the local area. "Alabama First" could become "America First."
Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].
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