Why are Farmers’ Markets Important?
Carrie: Farmers markets are important to our local community so that we can provide fresh, locally-produced, and healthy products. You get to know the person who grows your food, and you keep things you consume local and non-processed.
Todd: The farmer’s markets are important because, again, you get your food from local people who participate in the local economy and support all the businesses in the area – and you also know where your food comes from. You hear about people’s passions; why they’re in the business and why they like it. You can even go out and visit these places to actually witness where your food comes from. You see a lot of variety and people from different backgrounds coming together. Some people have been in farming and ranching all of their lives, and some are just getting started. It’s a nice mix of people.
Farmers markets are a way for customers to connect directly to their food source. When you go to a grocery store – and there’s nothing inherently wrong with grocery stores – they’re only middle men. Some people want to have a different connection to their food and their food sources. We know who our doctors are, who are mechanics are, but do you know who your farmer is? Do you know where your food comes from? Do you know who grows your eggs, your broccoli, and where it’s from? To a lot of farmers and customers that’s a very, very important question. Farmers markets fill that need for that connection between the farmer and the consumer.
I have farm fresh eggs, pickles, jams and jellies, and some herbed vinegar. Markets are very important to the community because, you know where your food is coming from. It’s a great place to meet the local producers, and get the freshest food possible – you know what you’re getting and they know what they’ve produced. Nothing can beat it.
Why are farmer’s markets important to our community? Well, the first thing I’d like to say is that it brings us all together. Every Saturday morning we come down here year-round and we sell our goods. This is a good way to market what we do, because most of us are really small business owners. It brings the community together. It gives us a chance to talk to people about what we do and how we do it. A lot of our products are home-grown, a lot of them are pesticide free, gluten free – we have a lot of products that are healthier, and they’re locally-grown and made.
. I had my own nursery for quite a while, and now I have my grandkids helping me every now and then, too. I’m supposed to be retired, but still get my fingers in the dirt. The big benefit of the farmer’s market here, is that you get your produce directly from the grower and not through a middle person. You can have actual contact with the grower and ask any questions about how it’s raised or grown. You can alleviate concerns about pesticide usage because they’ll tell you what they do or don’t use. Normally you get such a fresher and better tasting vegetable here, too. Our policy is you have to grow what you sell. You can’t go buy from a wholesaler with products from who knows where. With our market, you have to be in one of the contiguous counties – so everything is locally grown, right here. I normally carry vegetable and herb starts for the season that we’re in – I won’t sell something in the wrong season.
When you can look at somebody and know that’s where your food comes from, that means something. Not only do you get the products and produce, but you get a lot of good info from farmers markets. If you’re interested in gardening or having a fruit orchard, these guys are where the rubber meets the road. If you have a question about gardening, mulching, varieties, time of year – you can get all that info for free at the farmers market.
These pecans here, my uncle and grandfather planted them in 1938 Those guys have passed away, but I’m still harvesting pecans from those trees. It’s pretty cool.
At Granny’s Garden, what I try to do is replicate the flavors that people remember they had when they went to their grandparent’s house – the flavor of fresh, grass-fed beef or mustang grapes – that’s a wild grape – and you can’t find that in the store.
I have a young couple that comes out to the farm, actually. The young lady is a nutrition major, and her husband is a mechanical engineer grad student. They come to my place and are learning farming from me. They wanted to buy acreage and farm, but to get started the cost and everything is high. They come out 1-2 days a week and whatever I’m doing they help me with. They can learn without any liability associated. And you know, five years from now, if they want to farm they could buy a piece of land and flip their lid.
I sell eggs here year-round at the farmers markets, and seasonal vegetables. Farmer’s markets are important to me because I have met so many people that have turned into friends over the years […] It’s a great place to come visit, a better place to come get your fresh vegetables. You go into any grocery store and ask someone, “Where did this come from?” They can look on the box and may be able to tell you what country. But everyone here – week in and week out – will be back and you can ask them, “What did you put on this? Did you put anything on it? What kind of fertilizer did you use?” and it makes it great. I think we’re doing a great service for the community. I understand our prices aren’t as cheap as H-E-B – but we’re not getting rich. Sometimes I’ll go in one of these stores –especially around Thanksgiving – and I’ll see sweet potatoes for 10 cents a pound – you can’t even get them in the ground for 10 cents a pound.
It’s a great place for people to bring their families. We have a lot of pet owners that come around and sell doggie treats, too. I love it. It’s my getaway. I’m stuck out there at the little farm seven days a week so this is my Saturday morning to get out and have a good time visiting with everybody.