Local, Farm Fresh Food Every Saturday

By Barbara King

Farm to fork….it is a concept folks are buying into and reaping huge benefits from. The farm to fork movement is currently one of the biggest trends in the nutritional world, and many are jumping on the bandwagon to ensure their long-term health and nutrition. The movement encourages people to swap over-processed, modified foods for local and not modified produce, dairy, meat, fruits and vegetables.

Tyler is embracing this trend – the farmers and their wares – making the experience of buying fresh food an enjoyable journey.

A unique and highly successful partnership between the East Texas Community Food Coalition and the well-known restaurant, Juls, has resulted in the Rose City Farmer’s Market, located in the parking lot of the restaurant on Old Jacksonville Road in Tyler.

The Market is slated to open April 4th, and lucky shoppers will have the pick of the crop of locally grown produce including free-range eggs, cut flowers, herbs, local honey, baked goods, fresh-pressed juices and Porch Culture coffee. The range of items goes on: meats, cheeses, jams and jellies, olive oil, seasonings and granola. The Market will also feature live music, as well as art and crafts from local artisans. This pet-friendly market offers a pet rest area and kids are encouraged to attend as well. The Market strongly believes and advocates that farmer’s markets can teach kids the value of local food and community building.

Juls Restaurant is now taking full advantage of the market being in their backyard by utilizing the fresh food available and serving this produce in their meals. The Market has made it even easier for purchases from the farmers, accepting debit and credit cards, SNAP, and WIC vouchers. Find them on Facebook at facebook.com/rosecityfarmersmarket or www.foodcoalition.org.

Enthusiastic market supporter Jessica Bullock said “it’s a happening market that not only provides the best in quality foods, but also prides itself on working to provide a way to make the healthiness accessible to all residents of Tyler.”

Rose City Farmers Market is open every Saturday, 8am-1pm, weather permitting.

Tyler’s Farmers Market has moved its opening day to May 24th. You will again see the familiar large tent on Old Bullard Road (at the end of the Sears parking lot in the Broadway Square Mall) teeming with fresh fruits and vegetables from local growers. All your favorites will be back, including tomatoes, sweet onions, new tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, pickling cucumbers, slicing cucumbers, cantaloupes, peppers, corn, honey, sweet potatoes, peas, beans and even plants.

Most farmers under the tent will sell any size container and wholesale lots in larger quantities. You can meet and greet new farmers and old hands ready and willing to share advice. This market, which has been “selling good health through local produce since 1983,” is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays from 7am-2pm.

Another terrific way to buy local and support a market that is 100% farmer owned and operated, is the East Texas State Fair Farmer’s Market located in the Fairgrounds. The unique, open air market, opened in 2009, operates rain or shine (under covered pavilions) Saturdays and Tuesdays from 7am-2pm. The big opening day will be Saturday, May 2nd running through August 2nd. The market features veggies, fruits, nuts/seeds, fresh herbs and seasonal flowers. Farmer’s applications are available online at etstatefair.com for this year’s market. Their slogan says it all, “Real Farmers, Real Food.”

Rachel Dolan is anxious for the market to open this season and says, “You can speak to real organic farmers and I revel in the nibbled leaf, because I know the produce has not been sprayed or treated. The farmers will tell me his favorite recipes, how the plants were grown, and what to expect the next week.”

Pick a favorite location and spend a morning supporting our local growers, then head home to fix a great meal made with local produce for a healthier lifestyle. We will explore more markets as they open throughout the area this growing season. Watch for more details!