Photo:  Joyce Simon is ready to greet customers at the Bridge City Farmer’s Market. She offers a variety of seasonal vegetables such as tomatoes, squash and cucumbers and has fresh eggs. What she doesn’t sell she gives to family or friends, but, with all the hard work of harvesting she lets nothing go to waste and cans the rest. This will be the last Saturday for the market, but it will return in mid September. 

By Debby Schamber

For the Record

Although time is running out, it’s still not too late to get fresh home grown vegetables plus many other delectable items at the Bridge City Farmer’s Market. 

Marion Pepper, who has her own little farm of chickens and grows various vegetables was asked by her friends if she sold any of her items. This gave her the idea to go on social media and ask the community if they would like to purchase goods from local people. The response was overwhelming with over 2,000 likes and comments on Facebook. The following Tuesday, Pepper went to the city council and gained their approval. From there she had meetings with possible vendors and the Bridge City Farmer’s Market was born. 

Since then people have been flocking to the area behind the Bridge City Community Center at 101 Parkside Drive. 

Among the vendors ready to greet customers is Joyce Simon. She offers a variety of seasonal vegetables such as tomatoes, squash and cucumbers and has fresh eggs. What she doesn’t sell she gives to family or friends, but, with all the hard work of harvesting she lets nothing go to waste and cans the rest. 

Simon offers 10 varieties of pickles like dill, bread and butter and icicle. She even offers the southern favorite of pickled green tomatoes. Some items she sells can be frozen such as the fresh shelled purple hull peas and zipper creams also known as silver skinned crowders. 

Simon learned to pickle from her mother. She learned the best way to get a crispy pickle was to soak them in lime water for 24 hours. It is a three day process to get the best pickles possible, but in the end it is surely worth the effort. 

“That makes them crispy, not mushy,” Simon said. “But you have to rinse them well before canning them.” 

Simon starts early in the morning working in her lush garden. When the heat of the day is at it’s peak, she does other things. She returns in the evening hours to finish working in her garden. Simon said she has okra all year long, unless the there has been a hard freeze. 

“It’s a team effort,” Simon said of the hard work needed. “Even the grandkids help too.” 

Simon chooses what she will plant next in a rotation and so that everything is not ready all at once. She is currently planning her fall garden. 

Mike and Fay Ginn are at the market too, but offer local honey, honey comb and bees wax. They started with two hives three years ago and since then have grown to include 35 boxes. The Bridge City couple has gathered the extra bees from rescued swarms. 

If someone is looking for a finished product “made with love” and “lots of care” there are the delicious baked goods too. Aurora Silvera makes home made cinnamon rolls, fruit cake, fig cake and fresh rolls. 

In addition, other vendors offer goat milk soaps, herbs, plants and roasted whole coffee beans. Plus some vendors have fresh home made salsa and cowboy candy also known as candied jalapenos. Others have offered pallet art,hand made jewelry and bracelets made of cords. 

Finally, there is Robert’s Wooden Creations. His home bound hobby has turned into a unique art. His labor of love has made beautiful wood carvings of fish and birds. But he also makes great conversation starters such as Texas size mosquitoes. 

Vendors come and go, but there is always something for somebody at the Bridge City Farmer’s Market. 

The market will cease after this Saturday but will resume mid-September. This will give farmer’s the chance to grow new crops since at the current time the gardens are in need of being replenished.

The rules to have a booth are fairly simple in that Pepper says the items need to home grown or hand made. She adds things such as candles and quilts would be welcome.

But, for those making food items, she wants people to be safe and cottage laws and certifications must be met. 

“I don’t want people to get sick,” Pepper said. “I am just looking out for other people.” 

As time goes on, Pepper is looking to expand on the market. The spots for vendors are free of charge and she hopes to see many more people out there. 

Some farmers such as cattle farmers have expressed an interest. But, she wants it done safely and with all of the regulations met. 

People wanting a spot at the Bridge City Farmer’s Market can get one by contacting Pepper on the the farmer’s market Facebook page. Also anyone wanting updated information on the market can find it too on their Facebook page. To find it simply go to Bridge City Farmer’s Market on Facebook.