Now all the market needs are farmers

August 31, 2013

Mike Gurung aims to start up a farmers market next to the Four Foxes convenience store he manages on West Pearl Street in Granbury, and said “everything is ready to go” – except for the farmers.

Gurung said Wednesday by phone from Irving that he had tried to get the commercial market featuring locally grown produce rolling awhile back, but came to the conclusion that extreme heat was too much to overcome at that time.

“My intention was to start in June or July, but it was pretty hot then. We had three vendors, but they just dropped out,” Gurung said.

Gurung said he had concrete slabs completed for the farmer’s trailers, along with extra parking required by the city of Granbury, about a month and a half ago. There is space for about nine stalls, he said, and there’s a “big oak tree” for shade.

He said he envisions the farmers market offering “fruits, vegetables, pumpkins, watermelons – anything you want.”

Gurung said that farmers interested in participating in the farmers market can call the store at 817-573-7262 for more information.

A 48-year-old Hood County man who refers to himself as would-be produce farmer said he looked into the farmers market back then, but opted out because of a time obligation.

“At that time, he was looking for people who could be there every day,” said the farmer, who asked not to be identified for this article. “I don’t know any farmer who has the time to set up seven days a week.”

Gurung responded that the previous requirement for farmers to commit to selling every day at the market is no longer in place, and he is “wiling to work with them” to suit their schedules. That can include weekend-only appearances, Gurung said. However, he noted it’s only fair that those who set up regularly will be rewarded with the most favorable market spots.

NEW OLD WAYS

The farmer said he’s been trying to make it as a commercial grower for about the last four years.

“I am brand new, but like a lot of people I have had gardens all my life,” he said. “I’m trying to teach myself to grow greenhouse tomatoes.”

His said his crops also include peppers, eggplant, squash, turnip greens, cole swiss chard, broccoli and radishes.

Another key reason commercial growers haven’t shown up in huge numbers for farmers markets, he said, is that there aren’t many left in the county.

“There’s not. I bet there are six to eight people in Hood County that are (crop farmers) or are trying to be,” he said. “I’m trying to get there. It’s not an easy road and not a cheap road. The equipment is pretty expensive. But I don’t think it’s because there’s not any money in it. Everywhere you can farm, it’s all busted up – it’s all divided into tracts.”

He said that the county does have some rich soil areas, but much of the land not set aside for subdivisions and homes is not ideal for crops – either too sandy or too rocky, and more suitable for raising cattle.

The farmer said he’s been observing a home trend of “going back to the old ways” that includes learning things like home canning and sewing as well as people growing their own crops.

“The old ways are starting to come back. Things run in cycles,” he said, noting that his father didn’t make his living off of farming, but grew enough crops to keep the family fed. “Certain things have to be passed down from generation to generation.”

[email protected] | 817-573-7066, ext. 254

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