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Just for Fun: Farmers Markets

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Now that warmer weather has arrived, lots of home gardeners are busy watering, weeding and caring for their veggies, fruits, and whatever natural delights make them happy. As any gardener can tell you, there’s something natural and satisfying about tending a garden up to harvest time. There are a lot of folks who prefer their bounty fresh from God’s good ground to the table (as opposed to the supermarkets), but for those who don’t have the time to invest in home gardening, there is an easier option indeed. Huntsville claims two options that can satisfy the veggie/fruit lover’s appetite and still help curb all the pesticides and chemicals acquainted with a lot of produce.

City of Huntsville’s Main Street Program Downtown Market

Farmer's-Mkt-Downtown-Street-ViewFirst, there is the City of Huntsville’s Main Street Program Downtown Market between 11th and 12th street on 1100 University Avenue, located just behind the Walker County Courthouse. Postcards spoke with Main Street Coordinator Lindsay Lauher, who informed us, “We have a lot of home-produced goods, as well as fruits and vegetables. The market is open May through July every Saturday from 8:00 in the morning till 12:00 noon.”

Farmer's-Mkt-Downtown-LeatherWe browsed all the homemade crafts of leather, wood, jewelry, birdhouses, birdfeeders, honey, and other products available to the public. I personally checked around for some homegrown green beans, and several farmers informed me that they would be available in another week. (So, they should be there by now.) Lindsay adds a good point about this, “The variety of items grows each week, plus different crops begin to ripen week by week. It’s important that our visitors and customers come weekly so they can see the new crops that are becoming available.”

Farmer's-Mkt-Downtown-ButchButch Maywald is the coordinator for the vendors in the Downtown Market, whose produce comes primarily from local areas in and around Walker County. He and his wife Dianne also have a booth busy with customers in need of vegetables and other produce, so he can point you in the right direction.

This is the second year of the Downtown Farmers Market that sells fruits, vegetables, various plants, herbs, seeds, yard eggs and other agricultural products that are guaranteed to fiber-up your system with home-grown nutrition. For those of you with a sweet tooth you can drop by the Sugar Skull Sweets booth and get a cupcake, jams, cookies or scones. There is the Leadbelly Elevator on 1221 Sam Houston Ave (and Facebook) which sells custom woodworks, ceramics, candles, botanical baths, perfumes, beauty aids and rare plants.

Farmer's-Mkt-Downtown-Herbal-LadiesAvailable also are plenty of natural herbs grown by Jean Marsh (Texas Thyme Unit), who not only has healthy herbs, but herbs for lotions and skin products. Mrs. Marsh informed us that they grow “eatable herbs, culinary, and medicinal herbs. We have classes for garden groups, as well as Master Gardeners in Huntsville, plus we do some herb classes for Leon County. We also have an herb garden at the Wynne Home in downtown Huntsville.” If you are interested in contacting Mrs. Marsh for an herbal class, call (936) 295-4157.

Mrs. Marsh shared some other info about the herb “cilantro” that you may not know—“You can eat the seed and flower raw, as long as it’s green. You can use it in salads, sauces, etc. But when it turns brown, it becomes ‘coriander.’ Of course, you have to grind it, but there are a lot of cookbooks with recipes for coriander.”

Certain herbs are year round—example “Basil is a summer herb, while dill and cilantro are  winter herbs.” (This is straight from Mrs. Marsh, so she’s in the know about herbs.)

Walker County Farmers Market
at West Hill Mall 

Farmer's-Mkt-West-Street-ViewAdditionally, there is the Walker County Farmers Market at West Hill Mall (north side parking lot), which is open in May through July on Saturday and Wednesday mornings from 8:00 in the morning until 12:00 noon. They have vegetables, fruits, 1015 onions, jams, jellies, and all sorts of homegrown healthy eatables that will bring your palate joy. They are local growers who probably have what you’re looking for.

Farmer's-Mkt-West-Fun-at-FarmFarmers like Jim “Sonny” and Gina Hanna, who’ve had a “family farm which began in 1850,” sell veggies such as purple hull peas, fresh pintos, Kentucky Wonder Beans, onions, squash, jelly, and other delights. Farmers Danny and Margaret Bailey, who drive in from Richards prefer the Walker County Farmers Market because there is “plenty of parking,” and Danny adds, “Folks can just drive right up. This helps those who may have problems walking or getting around.”

There you have it—only in Texas—a veggie drive-thru. Think about it—if you’ve got a craving and you’re in a rush to make some salsa with tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro, and other ingredients, then you can satisfy your craving at Walker County Farmers Market.

Easy directions, too—if you’re traveling on I-45 from either direction—head west on Highway 30 for Walker County Farmers Market and head east on 11th street (also Highway 30) for Downtown Farmers Market.

Elected President Scooter Langley at Walker County Farmers Market suggests those interested in buying or selling go to their Facebook page.

The Downtown Market enlists vendors primarily from the Walker County area, so those who may wish to vendor their vegetables and products can call Butch Maywald at (936) 293-1713 or cell at (936) 499-4889.

You can also contact County Extension Agent Reggie Lepley at (936) 435-2426 about other agricultural availabilities or about Master Gardeners in Walker County.

For all concerned, the Downtown Farmers Market and the Walker County Farmers Market are growing by the year. If you haven’t made it out there, you should put it on your to do list. You will grace your table with healthy food, find some interesting items, and meet some homegrown folks in the process.  There you have it—good greetin’ and good eatin’.

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