It’s no secret that fresh food grown by our local farmers is tastier and comes with better nutritious benefits than food that is shipped over long distances.
The small towns dotting rural areas of the Upper East Side of Texas help celebrate the bounty of the region by supporting local farmers and providing fresh food for consumers. They turn this annual ritual into a good time for residents and visitors alike with lively farmers markets that kick off this time of year.
The markets feature fresh, mouth-watering, locally-grown produce including tomatoes, squash, okra, peppers, potatoes, peas, watermelon, cantaloupe, onions, eggplant, and greens like Swiss chard, spinach, turnip greens, and more. Many have live music and other entertainment creating a festive atmosphere.
After cruising the markets, guests in most locations can find a number of dining and shopping opportunities within walking distance as well as museums and art galleries to fill out a fun-filled day.
Here are a dozen lively destination markets sure to please.
Well known for its First Monday Trade Days, Canton has long had a few elaborate produce stands around town – in fact, it is the farmers that helped start the world’s largest flea market way back in the 1850s. Canton’s Main Street program started an official farmers’ market this year that is open from 8 a.m. to Noon every Saturday. The market is on Buffalo Street in downtown Canton between Groves Street and Highway 64. Besides all local produce, the market features homemade baked goods, breads and sweets, soaps and essential oils, and local beef and chicken. Local musicians provide live music and chefs are on hand with recipe demonstrations. Kids can enjoy story time and planting and gardening activities. With their history in growing markets to epic proportions, this weekly event is bound to be a big hit. For more information, go to www.cantonmainstreet.org or call 903.567.1851.
The Greenville Farmers’ Market is located at 2203 Lee Street in downtown Greenville. All their growers are within a 75-mile radius and only sell Texas produce. Their products also include honey, eggs, jams, pickles, breads, sweets, and pastured frozen chickens. They are open from 8 a.m. to Noon every Saturday through the fall. Every second Saturday of the month there is a special handmade crafts section. See a list of their vendors and more information at www.ci.greenville.tx.us/365/Farmers-Market or call 903.457.3100.
Folks in Longview say the Historic Longview Farmers’ Market is the place to be from 7:30-11:30 Saturday mornings through early November (they sometimes take a break in July). Located downtown on the corner of High and Cotton streets, they offer food to eat on site and take home, a street café to meet with neighbors and new friends, homemade gifts, gluten-free and vegan foods, cooking contests, cooking demonstrations, live music, and even tai chi martial arts classes.
Authentic Czech kolaches, spice mixes, muffins, jams, preserves, and pepper jellies are found at the market as well as handmade soaps, bug repellent, jewelry, wood bottle stoppers, rolling pins, and bowls. Nearby Greer Farm brings pastured beef, pork, lamb, and chicken as well as relishes, pickles and local honey.
The market is a project of the non-profit Preservation Longview. Go to www.historiclongviewfarmersmarket.com or call 903.746.2708 for more information.
Market on the Square farmers’ market in Marshall is a partnership between Marshall Main Street and the Harrison County Farmers’ Market. The market features both traditional farmers market growers and arts and craft vendors in one place. A group of musicians joins the fun to bring acoustic music jam session to the market. Marshall Main Street puts together a Children’s Dollar Craft once a month on the Second Saturday at the market.
The Marshall market is open May 5 through September from 7 a.m. to Noon on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
They hold contests for Best Homemade Pie on June 9 and Best Homemade Ice Cream July 14.
Several wineries and breweries are part of the Harrison County Farmers Market and occasionally attend Market on the Square. For more information call 903.702.7777 and visit www.marshalltexas.net.
Mineola Farmers Market takes place from 8 a.m. to Noon Saturdays in the historic downtown district beginning in May and going through October. They have local produce and artisan goods. Other products include homemade goats milk soap, repurposed farm furniture, granola, and more. Lots of downtown shopping and dining within walking distance. Visit www.mineolafarmersmarket.com or call 903. 569.6983 for more information.
Mount Pleasant’s Farmers Market takes place in Caldwell Park, just two blocks from downtown. It is open every Tuesday from 4-7 p.m. June 5 through July 10. Shoppers find fresh produce, eggs, jams and jellies, baked goods, artisan products, and more. Dr Pepper Jelly is a favorite at this market as well as the all-natural bug spray and baby products. Street tacos are prepared and sold on site by Super Bueno. There’s a splash pad in the park so kids of all ages can keep cool. Call 903.572.8567 or visit their Facebook page.
Mount Vernon holds a farmers’ market every Saturday from May through September from 8 a.m. to Noon. It’s a welcome site on the downtown plaza each week that invites neighbors and visitors alike to get their supply of delicious and healthy foods while enjoying catching up with neighbors as kids play on the lawn.
On the second Saturday of the month throughout the season, the town kicks it up a notch with an expanded market and celebration that goes until 2 p.m. Food concession vendors are on hand and visitors can roam the free historic museums nearby to see model trains, a working blacksmith shop, and other exhibits. Second Saturdays on the Square kicks off the morning with sunrise yoga suitable for all ages. More market vendors come with artisan and food products, wines, handcrafted items, local meats, fresh eggs, as well as baked goods. Plus live entertainment, family-friendly activities and pet adoptions. Many downtown businesses offer specials for market shoppers and the shops and restaurants are a big part of the festivities each month.
Chef demonstrations using seasonal produce and vendor products are also a part of Second Saturdays. Some of the chefs on hand include Brandon Rodriguez, Oscar Cruz, Enam Chowdhury and Donna Copeland. The July 14 market features a "Taste of Downtown," showcasing a sampling of all Mount Vernon Plaza District restaurants. For more information go to www.mountvernontxfarmersmarket.com or call 903.537.4070.
Paris holds its market May through October in Market Square at 400 First SW from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday. Besides the usual produce, they have candy, breads and pastries, locally roasted coffee, handmade organic lotions and personal care items, artisan jewelry, soaps and live music. About once a month there’s something special going on including bike rides, planting classes, and food trucks. Go to www.marketsquareparistexas.com for more information or call 903.784.9293.
The Rockwall Farmers Market brings the historic downtown square to life from 8 a.m. until Noon every Saturday morning from May through September. Besides fresh produce they have specialty foods such as grass-fed meats, fresh baked artisan breads, farm eggs, honey, jams, pasta, and tamales to name a few. They have live music and are dog and pet friendly. Go to www.rockwallfarmersmarket.org for more information or call 214.543.7466.
The only Saturday night farmers’ market in the region, Celebration Market is held on the beautiful downtown Sulphur Springs plaza from 5-9 p.m. May 12 through September 29. In addition to locally-grown produce the event features homemade arts and crafts and goodies, live entertainment, craft classes, master gardeners plant sales and demonstrations, food vendors, ice cream, and much more. The community-friendly plaza has hands on activities with oversized chess and checkers games, a really fun splash pad for children of all ages, and a quirky attraction, the only see-through restrooms in America. Numerous restaurants are open, some with live music and other activities.
Special events and concerts take place in conjunction with Celebration Market throughout the season. Reds, Whites & Brews Festival helps kick things off May 12. Full-band concerts take place once or twice a month. There’s an art festival on September 22 and the season closes with Walk Like MADD, an event by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. Call 903.885.7541 and visit www.sulphurspringstx.org for more information.
The Waxahachie Downtown Farmers Market takes place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday from April 28 through October 27 featuring fresh produce, farm eggs, baked goods, jams and jellies, meats, and handmade wares. Each week features a different highlighted event as part of the festivities including Cinco de Mayo Fiesta May 5, Garlic Festival June 2, Master Gardener Grill Festival July 21, Crafty Crafters August 4, Great Iris Give Away August 18, and Buzzing About Bees September 1.
Once a month guest chefs prepare foods from market ingredients during Taste of Market. Very Blueberry is on May 26, Pepper Festival is June 30, Mad About Melons is July 28, Summer Squashes on August 25 and Sweet Potatoes are presented on September 22.
Special kids activities take place May 12, June 9, July 14, August 11, September 8, and October 13.
For a full list of events and more information go to www.waxahachie.com or call 469.309.4111.
As with most events in Winnsboro, their farmers’ market is tastefully done. Open downtown on Market Street from 8 a.m. to Noon Saturdays from April through October they have a unique selection of locally-grown products including chocolate-colored bell peppers, eggplants of all sizes and patterns, and dragon egg cucumbers. Artisan offerings include creamed and flavored local honeys, brick-oven breads, and Hawaiian and German-inspired pastries. They have organic and grass-fed beef as well as natural pork and lard. Assorted cheeses and creamy flavored and plain yogurts are on site from local dairy, Jersey Girls. Other products include jams and jellies made with locally-grown fruits and goats milk soap and beeswax salves.
New this year, the market features yoga sessions. They also have chef demonstrations and other special events from time to time. June 16 is the Second Annual Wellapolooza, a morning full of fitness sessions and healthy cooking demonstrations using market produce. On June 23, the Wood County 4H food challenge teams present a live "iron chef" style competition.
The Winnsboro Farmers’ Market also offers online shopping. Go to www.winnsborofarmersmarket.com or call 903.629.7079 to learn more.