Opened a few weeks before the produce growing season, the Palestine Farmers Market officially begins with a farm and flower market on Saturdays.
Anderson County Master Gardeners and the Dogwood Garden Club sell small trees, shrubs and ornamental plants while up to 18 local farmers sell fresh eggs, meat and vegetable seedlings.
New this year include a seed bank, monthly cooking demonstrations, new vendors, better accessibility for people with disabilities and new hours of operation, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pepper, tomato, herbs and other plants are sold by local farmers who usually sell their produce later in the day. the season.
The city has made the facility more accessible by adding two disabled parking spaces and improving wheelchair access.
Opening day is full with 30 vendors, including many old and new farmers and artisans. Most sell farm produce, including local grass-fed beef ranchers Counter Culture Farms in Nacogdoches, KT Signature Beef in Montalba, and Glory Farms in Fairfield.
April Shaner, director of the Palestine Farmers Market, said many vendors were eager to share their products and ideas with the public.
“This opening day is all about getting out there and getting excited about planting and the spring season,” Shaner said. “After the long winter, we come together as a community and are really excited about the opportunity of the new season.”
A seed planting demonstration suitable for children and adults begins at 10 a.m. and a cooking demonstration by Glory Farms begins at 11 a.m. Shaner said the market encourages vegetable gardening and home cooking to improve well-being.
“Many vendors will bring plant starters to encourage people to grow their own plants,” Shaner said. “We want people to get excited about cooking stuff at the farmers market. We want people to be healthy.
Shoppers can also expect to find returning soap artisans and vendors Robin Hill Farms and Mustard Seed Soap Company, bakers and canners such as Parkers Preserved Goodness, a hemp seed vendor known as VJ Farms, and two food trucks including JT Warthogs and Papa Ray’s.
Although the market is sold out for the opening weekend, applications from vendors are accepted throughout the season, which runs through December. Shaner said the market is gaining more vendors due to last year’s success.
“More people are contacting us because we had such a great successful season last year,” Shaner said. “We are really excited about the variety of vendors that will be with us this season. And the opportunity to showcase local small and micro-enterprises. It’s a really nice place.
For more information on visiting the Palestine Farmers Market www.palestinefarmersmarket.com.