Introducing a farmers’ market to Fort Stockton has been in discussion for many years. It has been the idea of many, but has never come to fruition – until recently.
Amy Hartman initiated the new Fort Stockton Farmers' Market Saturday, July 15 at the ACE Hardware store. The developing function continues to take place in the ACE Hardware parking lot every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and has increased in vendors with every passing weekend.
Local resident Rachel Day Nix spotted the original one-vendor market, which sparked her interest and incidentally created a partnership
“Amy was the original and only vendor. When I first saw the farmers' market, she was the only vendor that whole day. She was out there at the ACE parking lot set up with all of the honey from her hives, and I just had this feeling that something was really special about this,” revealed Nix.
Going into more detail about her involvement, Nix said, “She let me take pictures of everything she had that day, and I just started posting and sharing with my friends. After posting some pictures, one thing led to another, and I eventually became the public relations part of the farmers' market. I'm on the committee now, but really my involvement just came out of my own excitement for the farmers' market being here in town... After talking with Amy that first weekend, I started my own booth just to help it get going. I got some other people on board, and before you know it, people just started joining, because it's something that everybody wants.”
From jars of raw honey glistening in the sun, the entitled Fort Stockton Farmers' Market has also featured Coyonosa grown watermelons and cantaloupes, locally grown zucchini and squash, gluten-free cookies, firecracker snacks, paracord bracelets, hair scrunchies, chocolate chip cookies, homemade bread and tortillas, homemade air fresheners, and much more.
Nix says the process of becoming a vendor at the Fort Stockton Farmer's market is simple and shares the few requirements.
“Anybody can come and set up a table, and a canopy is optional. We have an application form that we give our vendors and we only charge a $5 fee. Each vendor has to label their food with the ingredients for safety reasons. There's a lot of information on our Facebook page, for anyone who is interested in the safety regulations and we're very responsive to questions on Facebook.”
Stating that the farmers' market is not limited to produce and food alone, Nix and Hartman encourage people who like to craft to come set up a booth and sell their handmade goods.
“Our goal is to get more vendors – of all kinds,” explained Nix. “We do want this to be a long-term thing. The more involvement the better, and so far we get bigger each Saturday. This last weekend, we had a total of ten vendors, and that's the most we've had in only four weeks of doing this. It's a lot of fun for the community, and most of everything there is ripe and ready to eat... I know a lot of people are looking for things to do on the weekend, and this is really a great family-friendly option. It's a good time. We had my husband, Wayne, out there playing the banjo, and who knows what other kinds of entertainment will be featured as this continues to grow,” said Nix.
Highlighting her personal favorite things about the Fort Stockton Farmer's Market, Nix concluded, “I love how it's a full circle. Everyone benefits. Even the vendors have begun bartering with each other. I traded some essential oils for some gluten free cookies, and I know Tiffany Cutshall traded one of her blankets for some fresh mesquite bean jelly... We just really want to thank ACE Hardware and the Fort Stockton community for being so responsive, and extremely supportive. We had a lady who was traveling and staying in one of the Fort Stockton hotels stop by, so it's also for the out-of-town shoppers as well. I'm hoping this grows into something bigger. I know we're on the right road to something even greater.”
For more information, visit HYPERLINK "http://facebook.com/fortstocktonfarmer"facebook.com/fortstocktonfarmer.
More pictures of the Farmer's Markets' biggest turnout is featured in this week's issue of The Pioneer.