The Mansfield Farmers Market may be the freshest secret in town."We still have a lot of people that don't know we're here," said market director Rex Wenger, who has been involved since the idea took root nine years ago.But the people who have found the Saturday morning market are getting the pick of the crop."I started coming about a month ago," said Missy Coston of Mansfield. "Now, I come every weekend. I get the bread, the best bread ever. Now that I know I can get green peas, I'm happy."On Saturday mornings I normally go home to East Texas," she said. "Now I stay home since I found this. I love it."The market isn't just a recent discovery for shoppers; some of the vendors are just uncovering the weekly find, too."I've been going to Wichita Falls," said J.L. Curtis, who was on his third weekend in Mansfield. "I've been doing better here than up there. The people here just get started a little later. When you get (to Wichita Falls) at 7 a.m., they're waiting on you. Here they don't start coming until 9 or 10 a.m."Curtis, who was selling onions, cantaloupe, okra, peaches and watermelon from his five-acre farm in Parker County, said he's had weeks when he sold out in Mansfield."When they find out I'm from Parker County, they've got to have the peaches," he said.James Thrailkill and his father, Ed, just started selling their organic produce after 15 years of raising vegetables on their half acre in Cedar Hill."It's been a chore trying to sell this stuff around Cedar Hill," James Thrailkill said, motioning toward their table of cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, peppers and garlic."But we sold out here last Saturday," Ed Thrailkill said.Every Saturday morning from mid-May through mid-October, bright blue tents sprout on the parking lot on the corner of Broad and Main streets, selling plants, antiques, baked goods, jams and jellies and an increasing supply of locally grown fruit and vegetables. After last summer's brutal drought, this spring's rain was a blessing to local crops."We've got a lot more produce this year," Wenger said. "If the rain keeps up, we will do well."The market has attracted up to 20 vendors a week and about 400 shoppers weekly, he said.The Mansfield Farmers Market may be a garden find for some, but Janice Davis has been selling her son's produce here for eight years "off and on.""Business is great," said Davis, who barely paused while bagging new potatoes, squash and a jar of her homemade jelly for a customer. "It's better than it's ever been."While her booth was hopping, her son, Richard Davis, does even better at the farmers market in Waxahachie, she said. The Davises see the Mansfield market as an advertising opportunity for her son's farm, located just south of Mansfield."We have people that come here that come out to the house to buy from us," she said.The reason to buy locally grown produce is simple, said Jeana Owens of Mansfield, who has shopped at the Mansfield market several times."It tastes better," she said.
Mansfield Farmers Market
8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 13
150 E. Broad St.