By Rebecca Rose
Harker Heights Herald
Harker Heights' first-ever farmers' market had a strong turnout Saturday, as shoppers crowded into the parking lot at Carl Levin Park for their chance to get samples of locally grown fruits and vegetables.
Heather Cox, activities coordinator for the Parks and Recreation department said five vendors turned out for the event, including two produce vendors and three craft sellers. She estimated 200 shoppers showed up for the inaugural event.
"I think it went great," she said. "We are extremely excited to see so many citizens come out. Everyone was excited that Harker Heights finally created a market."
The city plans to have vendors selling coffee and muffins for the next market on June 11, Cox said.
"We are looking into finding live music, such as an acoustic guitarist and singer who will play for tips," she said.
Cox also said they were looking forward to finding more produce vendors.
Anthony Marshall, one of the produce vendors who attended Saturday, sold out early. Marshall owns Veggies-R-Us, a business he started when the company he worked for closed. He decided to try his hand growing fruits and vegetables on a plot of land owned by his family, and now sells his own produce at a stand on Route 439.
An article about the market in the Killeen Daily Herald prompted him to sign up for the market. Marshall said he arrived at 6:15 a.m. to set up. By 6:45, he had a long line of eager customers, filling the parking lot at Carl Levin Park.
"It did not slow down for me until 9:30 a.m.," he said. "I was so busy, hustling so people didn't have to wait."
Marshall said he ran out of vegetables almost immediately. He sent his wife to get more fruits to accommodate the crowd, but by late morning, he was completely sold out of everything.
"The demand is definitely growing," said Marshall of the interest in locally grown foods.
Marshall said he would recruit his children to help out next week to alleviate the wait time for customers.
Some of the produce Marshall will offer include yellow squash, zucchini and Ichiban eggplant, a Japanese version of the popular vegetable.
Julie Farnsworth accompanied her mother, Katie Horn. Horn sells handcrafted goods including baby bibs, dishcloths, and potato bags. Farnsworth makes and sells her own jewelery.
"Mom did really well," Farnsworth said. "She made double what she makes in a month at the consignment stores."
Farnsworth said that when more vendors learn of the market's success, and the lack of fees for sellers, more of them will come.
"This was a good start," she said. "It showed that there is a lot of interest in a market here in Harker Heights."
The farmers market takes place in Carl Levin Park every Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon, or until the vendors sell out. To apply to become a vendor, contact Heather Cox at (254) 953-5493 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Rebecca Rose at email@example.com or (254) 501-7548. Follow her on Twitter at KDHheights.