From May through October, The Harker Heights Farmer’s Market transformed the quiet stretch of grass in front of Seton Medical Center into a bustling scene of shoppers and sellers.
The market has taken root in the community, growing bigger and better each year, with the 2017 season ending on a chilly Saturday morning Oct. 28.
The early birds started flowing in at 8 a.m. strolling by 40 booths offering everything from beef jerky, homemade soaps, barbecue sauce and jewelry to garden fresh vegetables.
“This farmer’s market is like a community hub,” said Jason Higgins, munching on a fresh bag of kettle corn. “It’s a place to get a taste of small-town life.”
Sixty vendors participated this, season marking another great year of business growth attracting returning vendors and new ones said Heather Buller, activities coordinator for Harker Heights Parks and Recreation,
“It is also a joy to see the Market goers come back every Saturday, and every year, to their local vendors that they have waited all year to buy from,” Buller said.
Supporting local vendors is important to Dominique Francis, a frequent shopper. Daughter Serenity Francis, 10, walked alongside, toting a pumpkin and a bag of vegetables.
“The kids enjoy it here and all seasons are good ones as long as people buy from local farmers,” Francis said.
Many vendors started Halloween early, giving out free candy, while others offered discounts and sales.
Attending his third year at the market, Jeff Oaks of Belton Veggie Guy called 2017 a very good year for business.
“The community really supports the market making it enjoyable for us to come,” Oaks said.
Chanting “Egg rolls, egg rolls,” Kyle Thompson, 7, could barely wait for his freshly made order from Philippine Pit Stop.
Co-owner Glenn Macabitas mentioned this year was better than 2016, which was his first year at the market.
“The customers really picked up since last year, and we’re happy with that,” he said.
As the morning air warmed up, the crowd slowly swelled. A newcomer was Amber Axline, who bought a new a cutting board.
“I like the variety and the quality of items is excellent,” Axline said.
Longtime Heights resident Cyd West carried two shopping bags filled with favorite items, like jerky and popcorn.
“There are more vendors every year with lots of variety of foods and crafts,” West added.
For three years, Regina Cooper makes the 35-mile trek from Eddy bringing her homemade crafts and soy candles. It’s a lot of work but worth the effort she said.
“This is one of the best markets in Central Texas and this year has been profitable, so we’ll return,” Cooper said.