Bridge City Farmers Market sprouting up again
Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey tried, but it couldn’t keep the Bridge City Farmers Market down.
Betty Vail, with the market, said they’ll reopen this Saturday next to the senior citizens center at Bridge City Park at 101 Parkside Dr., behind the Bridge City Community Center and Bridge City Public Library sit. They’ll be open every Saturday from 7 to 11 a.m.
“We opened last April. This will be our second year. The storm put a big stop to everything,” Vail said. “Last year, we sometimes had 20 vendors out there. We averaged 10 to 15 vendors.”
Those vendors will be selling fruits and vegetables, honey, pickles, different coffees, jellies, crafts such as crocheted wraps, crosses made from driftwood and Vail’s husband also brings his creations made from his wood shop.
Everything is handmade. The profits go to the vendors,” she said.
She added that vendors and shoppers come from all over the area. Some of the vendors also sell for the farmer’s market in Orange.
Founder 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, according to a prior Record article. 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. Soon afterward, Pepper went to the city council and gained their approval. From there she had meetings with possible vendors and the Bridge City Farmers Market was born.
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 its 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.
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.
Taylor McKinley sells potted plants and Justin Church makes crosses out of driftwood.
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 Farmers Market.
Speaking of vendors, Vail is asking for more vendors to participate.
“We offer a little bit of everything and hope to be adding more,” she said. “If someone is interested in setting up, there’s no charge. We will have the market every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. You need to have a canopy top,tables/stands and be there by 6:15 a.m. to set up and ready by 6:45 a.m.
“Everyone has to be there and set up by 6:45. No vehicles can be moving around between 7 and 11. All food/jellies must have a labels of ingredients and all crafts have to be homemade. If interested (Facebook) message Bridge City Famers Market with a picture of what you are wanting to sell.