By Kerri Smith~
Ripe vegetables bursting with color. The inviting scent of coffee and cocoa. Secret recipes and innovative concoctions everywhere you look.
If you haven’t been to your local farmer’s market, lately, you’re missing out on a burgeoning scene of entrepreneurs.
In the wake of lay-offs and a constantly changing economy, more and more of our neighbors are embracing their passions and sharing their crafts in local farmer’s markets. And they’re finding not just a calling, but also a tight-knit community of creatives.
“We found our people,” Shan O’Polka, of The DABs Bakery, said. She and her business partner, Trisha Johnston, made their market debut last June.
Johnston added, “They’re always willing to help. There’s real loyalty in this community.”
This is a sentiment echoed among the multitude of merchants.
“You learn a lot from the other vendors,” Rick Pittser, of Copper Sky Craft Beverages, said. Pittser is another newcomer to the farmer’s market scene. “I didn’t know what the community would be like, but I feel like they’re my co-workers.”
Within the community there is an overwhelming urge to help each other succeed, from assisting first-timers with their displays and sharing advice on commercial kitchens to purchasing UPCs and collaborating on products.
There’s an understanding that all vendors are in it together — a shared feeling of ownership and commitment to the bigger picture. It is one that encourages the brave who dare to take a chance on themselves.
“It’s one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had,” Aaron McClafferty, creator of The Tasty Tex, said.
“I’ve met so many people doing incredible things and embracing the ride.”
You can feel the friendliness in the air: Each merchant is happy to recommend another.
“There was a lady selling candy next to me,” Jaime Wiley, of the Bougie Boozy Bears alcohol-infused gummy treats, said. “And I’d send all the parents over to her. The kids get upset when they can’t have a gummy bear!”
The engaging experience from all sides makes each purchase that much more enjoyable. Behind every craft, confection, and concept is a story that inspires as much as it intrigues — and entices. You learn where ideas come from and how each seller finds the courage to do it.
A farmer’s market exists in almost every North Texas town, and most are year-round.
So, the next time your grocery list is ready or you need a break from isolation, venture out to your local farmer’s market and meet the courageous entrepreneurs in your town. Listen to their stories, feel their joy, and savor their craft.