The Harker Heights Farmers Market opened Saturday for its ninth season in front of Seton Medical Center. The market will be open every Saturday through Oct. 26 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. or until vendors sell out.

Throughout this run of the market, there will be “Themed Market Days” held the first Saturday of each month. The theme on Saturday was Health Care Professionals Appreciation Day.

Vendors offered a 10% discount to all health care professionals on their total purchase.

Sara Gibbs, activities coordinator for the City of Harker Heights, said, “The city is grateful for the hospital being extremely generous in allowing us to use their property every Saturday to host the Farmers Market.”

Vendors at the market will offer Texas-grown produce from local farmers, honey, handcrafted items and a variety of other homemade baked goods and treats made with local Texas ingredients, according to Jerry Bark, public relations director for the City of Harker Heights.

The Eighth Street Mercantile, owned by Doug and Barb McCracken of Temple, was one of 34 vendors who set up tents and displays for the first market of the season.

The McCrackens, who were in their business in Missouri for about 10 years, just moved to Texas and were selling homemade doggie treats, organic turkey jerky, grass-fed angus beef jerky, along with bird houses. As their business card stated, “We make anything dog.”

Latisha Hale was the person to see for pickles, jams and salsa.

She had a large collection of products and business was swift at her tent.

Hale said, “I make a lot of products from my heart because I enjoying doing it. Most people think this is hard work, but it’s my hobby and that never feels like work to me.”

An extremely popular vendor at the market for several years has been POP CornUtopia, run by Troy Summerill.

He also owns a regular store on Millers Crossing across from City Hall.

While stirring the next batch for waiting customers, he told the Herald that his permanent business carries 27 flavors and he’ll be opening an ice cream store at the northeast corner of the shopping center on May 21.

As was mentioned earlier, the theme for the day was to honor health care professionals.

Rose Fernandez, a registered nurse in the emergency room at Seton and Rene Fernandez, a fireman/paramedic with the Harker Heights Fire Department both mentioned their appreciation for the market.

“This is really nice and we thank the community for their support,” Rose Fernandez said.

Interestingly enough, Lisa Dienelt of Lisa’s Baking Connection and a full-time nurse at Seton, is well known by her co-workers as a top-notch baker.

“I just started making cinnamon rolls and bringing them to work to share with the doctors and nurses who are my co-workers. They raved on about how I should become a vendor; so here I am for the first time. In addition to the scratch-made cinnamon rolls, I have custom cakes, cupcakes and more.”

For the fourth year, Carl Bodolus of Yum Yum’s Secret Sauces is back with his best seller, which is a fried wonton with beef and vegetables inside.

“This is a great event and we appreciate the City of Harker Heights allowing us to be a part of it,” Bodolus said.

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