Farmer’s Market draws crowds to Water Street
By SHAY DAVENPORT
On the seventh of August, the Farmer’s Market of Belton, Texas was again one of the main attractions of the town. Meeting every Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., various vendors set up their booths on Water Street to show the community where the fresh and homemade products surely are.
From produce to sweets, every business shows their own enthusiasm to their new and regular customers starting in early May to the end of September. Taking a closer look, each stand has their own charisma.
David Lara has brought his bright fruits and vegetables grown from his farm in Heidenhammer.
Selling roughly 20-30 watermelons daily, Lara sets up his tables with tomatoes, okra, zucchinis, potatoes, and yellow squash – if they weren’t already sold out of them.
Lara said the magic of his success is derived from “just having that green thumb.”
With the demand and clientele that he has gathered, his techniques are very well shown because business is busy and fast.
Just a skip and a hop away from Lara’s stand, Mac’s Brittle seems to be another well-known and well-loved company.
Even though the company was established in 2015, Warren MacNelly’s family has been making peanut brittle for over six generations. Along with his son Marshall and grandson Trent, he has spread business to surrounding areas such as Belton, Temple, Round Rock, and Austin. They busily fill orders via Facebook, along with making personal deliveries and taking online orders. Customers cannot seem to get enough of their unique flavors such as Bacon Pecan, Coffee bean, sugar-free, cashew pecan, and more.
Starting out with two classic creations of brittle, Marshall and his brother each had their own favorites growing up, peanut and pecan.
Speaking with some of the locals, Sharron Clemmons was not only pleased with Mac’s Brittle, but was very familiar with several organizations at the Belton Farmer’s Market.
Residing in Belton for about 40 years “up the hill”, Clemmons said her favorite vendors include David Lara’s produce, MacNelly’s peanut brittle, and baked goods from Bunny’s Bakery.
The smell of fresh pies, cookies, and breads made by Mallory Morrison is enough advertisement for Bunny’s Bakery. Visiting the market any chance they can for the past two years, Mallory takes more personal orders than anything.
Customer favorites vary from pineapple upside down cake, chocolate-pecan pie, apple Dutch pie, and her famous chocolate chunk cookies.
Alongside her business, Samantha was also giving a helping hand. Offering fresh kolaches and macaroons, this booth couldn’t have been more interesting to anyone with a sweet tooth.
Another promise of shining, homegrown produce comes from Lightsey Farms located off of F.M. 1365 in Mexia.
Striking soil for the first time in 1918, four generations of farmers have put hard work and time into their fruits and vegetables.
Driving down from Mexia with local farmers as well, this operation is ready for the fast-paced business of a farmers market. Within five minutes of visiting with them, several customers were persistent in buying out their Lady Cream and Purple Hull Peas. More crowd favorites for the summer include peaches, tomatoes, onions, eggplant, and more.
Also producing their own supply, Carey Leech, also known as “Grumpy”, exhibits his honey, jellies, and jams.
After retiring from coaching basketball, Leech ventured out with a friend stripping his beehives at his land in Buckholts and Academy. Intrigued, Leech showed his interest in making honey himself. Having hives in Cedar Creek, he smokes out the bees and “robs” the hive for their honey, fertilizing it one time to extract the pollen out. Alongside this, Grumpy is also known for his wide variety of 25-35 flavors of jellies and jams. Although the honey crisp apple butter has been flying off of the table quickly, his peppered jelly is also the talk of the town, whether that is starting with the mild or the extremely hot.
Living in Belton since 1974, Leech is very familiar with the public and learning the crowd’s favorites. With some unique flavors such as lavender or mustang jam, this list seems never ending to his patrons.
With a couple months left, the Farmer’s Market is a first stop to fresh and individual selections right here in Belton. Driving from all directions, consumers are taking advantage of this downtown treat and absolutely loving it.