By Kim Steele

Killeen Daily Herald

KILLEEN - The Green Avenue Farmers Market debuted Saturday with vendors in a covered pavilion selling handmade soap, crops, jewelry, crafts, plants, loose tea and dog treats.

Outside, children got their faces painted, heard stories, watched puppet shows, enjoyed cultural performances and jumped in a variety of bounce houses. The Bell County Master Gardeners sold plants and offered educational activities for adults and children.

The debut of the farmers market, located at the corner of North Second Street and Green Avenue, was part of an opening celebration for the Killeen Arts and Activities Center, which started Friday.

At the farmers market, Myquel Bender, owner of My Divine Delivery in Harker Heights, displayed small pitchers of aromatic loose tea called "Secret Place" and "Healing Breath of Life, Peace and Freedom" for customers to smell. Bender, who creates the teas, owns a small shop that provides herbal teas, holistic health and midwife services.

"This is the first time I've been here, and I've been talking the whole time," said Bender, who plans to become a regular at the farmers market - open from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturdays. "People are loving the teas I have here and they are buying them. This is great."

Nearby, Edith Rodriguez, owner of the home-based Three Bandits Dog's Barkery in Killeen, dished homemade dog treats from glass containers and weighed them for customers. The 15 flavors of treats sold for $5 a pound. Flavors included apple and peanut butter, banana cinnamon, oatmeal and Parmesan cheese, blueberry muffin and New York-style pizza.

"Today has been great," said Rodriguez, noting she also is a vendor at the Harker Heights farmers market. "There's been a lot of people out here and those I talk to are concerned about what their dogs are eating."

At another table, Killeen home-business owner Virginia Kessel talked with customers interested in her seeds, packaged in small, white envelopes and decorated with photographs of flowers she took in her back yard.

Kessel offers - for $2 each - seeds for black or pinto beans as well as flowers such as zinnias, Indian blankets and marigolds.

"I'm offering homegrown Killeen seeds, and that's exactly what they are," said Kessel. "They grow every year, even in the drought. I'm really happy to be out here today. It's been a very successful day, and the public has been nice to me and responsive to my product."

Contact Kim Steele at or (254) 501-7567.

If you go

The Green Avenue Farmers Market is open from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays and from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

WIC coupons are accepted by certified vendors.

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