By Kyle Cushman, Correspondent
Fresh fruits and vegetables are a staple for many families, and the Belton Farmer’s Market has a lot to choose from.
Mary Coppin manages the Belton Farmer’s Market.
“I’ve been market manager for 20 years,” said Coppin. “We do two days a week in Temple, and one day a week in Belton. We have nine vendors here today in Belton, and at times we have 10 to 12 vendors at a time. We’re here from 7 a.m. until noon on Saturdays or until product sells out.”
Bobby Lawrence and Peggy Chubb sell many fruits and vegetables.
“I planted 140 tomato plants this year,” said Bobby. “I pick tomatoes every two to three days. Some days I pick as many as 200 tomatoes.”
John and Erica Evans own the Evans Ranch in Little River.
“Our main crop is corn, but we also grow wheat, oats and cotton,” said Erica. “We’re selling sweet corn today.”
The Evans have three kids – Darby 7, Isabel 4 and Oliver is 10 months old.
“My favorite thing to get at the market is blackberries. I also like the sweet corn,” said Darby.
John Evans quit his full time job six years ago to run the family farm after his father passed away.
“I’m the fifth generation on the family farm. It’s been in existence since 1867,” said John. “We sold corn every summer when I was a kid. In 2011, my dad passed away. That’s when I started farming full time.”
Customer Sherry Denton was looking for tomatoes.
“I like to put them up,” said Denton. “I put the tomatoes in my food processor, and I can them. It leaves things flexible. I can use them in stew and many other dishes all year.”
Phillip Rowell of Temple is one of the produce vendors.
“This is pickling season. I’ve had about five people here looking for pickling cucumbers this morning,” said Rowell. “People are mostly looking for tomatoes and cucumbers right now. Later in the season, okra is also popular.”
Halvorson’s Hidden Harvest runs a produce stand at the Belton Farmer’s Market. Amy Halvorson is also a teacher in Temple.
“Our son is 12 years old, and he knows all of the different varieties of onions,” said Halvorson. “Our kids know a lot about growing, harvesting and selling produce.”
James Halvorson is a Master Gardener. He joined the army in 1999, and was stationed at Fort Hood. When he got out of the army, he moved back to Wisconsin where his folks live. He soon came back to the Temple area.
“It took me about four or five years to learn how to learn how to grow a garden well in Texas. The climate is so different,” said James. “My kids did not like fruits and vegetables. We took them out to the garden to teach them. We show them how to grow it and pick it. Now they love to eat it, too,” said James. “When people think about a garden, many times they assume it’s a large expanse. New methods are available now that allow you to grow a lot of things in a smaller space. Everything we do is free of pesticides. We want to reconnect people to the food they eat.”