Longview, Tx (KETK) — A steady stream of cars filed into a parking lot Saturday at the corner of High and Cotton streets as the Historic Longview Farmers Market set up for the first time this season.
Some, such as Heidi Ellis of Kilgore, who attended the market in previous years, said they could not wait for the day to come.
“I was very excited. I posted on Facebook and was telling all my friends. I got up early this morning,” Ellis said.
Ellis said she buys most of her meats and produce from the farmers market each week.
The market, which opened four years ago, allows residents to buy locally grown produce and other farm and specialty projects.
Lynette Goodson, president of the Historic Longview Farmers Market, said each vendor lives near Longview and the items sold at the market varies each week as different foods are in season.
Goodson said two groups of people showed up Saturday: first-timers looking for a new area to shop and veterans who have come to the outdoor market numerous times before
“They have been calling me for two weeks. When we got here, it was storming, and people were here and willing to wait until we got set up,” Goodson said.
As the storms moved out, vendors set up booths to sell jellies, eggs, cheese, meat, all-natural cleaners and a variety of other locally grown products.
Jan Forester bought a set of eggs from the farmers market. She also said she now never buys jelly and rarely buys cheese that is not locally produced.
“I come a lot of the time. ... This is Longview’s version of Central Market or Fresh,” Forester said.
The vendors selling their goods were as excited as the buyers.
Chris Tomboni, owner of Tomboni’s Fresh Foods, said he sees selling at the Historic Longview Farmers Market as his full-time job.
“This is full time. It is full-time as of this year. ... I just do this one (market); this keeps me busy enough,” he said.
Tomboni and his family sell pestos, breads, meat pies, pizza and more at the farmers market along with some on-the-side catering.
“Once April and May rolls around, we are going to see 1,000 people roll through this place,” Tomboni said. “Pretty much when Thursday comes around, we start gearing up for the market.”
Robert and Shawna Bumbard sell the eggs from their 400 free- range chickens, about 60 dozen each week.
Robert Bumbard said they sell out of eggs, at $5 a dozen, by about 10 and that Saturday, after a winter break, several regular buyers showed up to the farmers market to buy their eggs.
“We don’t sell anywhere other than this farmers market. ... During the off-season, there is a charity we donate the eggs to because there is no reason for them to go to waste,” Robert Bumbard said. “This is an absolutely great group of people. We have some repeat customers who have been waiting since November for eggs.”
Goodson said more than 500 people showed up for the first market day of the year.
The market is open 8 a.m. to noon each Saturday through November.