The British are coming…to a South Texas farmers market


Contact: Barbara Storz, 956-383-1026, B-Storz@tamu.edu

McALLEN   –  A British television crew is scheduled to document the activities of a farmers market Nov. 10 in McAllen, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service personnel.

Customers line up to buy produce from vendors at the Grow’n Growers farmers market in South Texas. (AgriLife Communications photo by Rod Santa Ana)

Barbara Storz, an AgriLife Extension horticulturist in Hidalgo County, said the journalists are interested in the farmers market she started five years ago that connects health-conscious consumers with local small-acreage vegetable producers.

“The TV crew from England is working on a documentary about obesity rates in South Texas and those who are doing something about it,” she said. “They’ll be interviewing some of our customers about their lifestyles and such, and they’ll be interviewing Lebby Salinas, one of our local food educators who is what you might call a health coach. She’s relentless and very successful in teaching locals about improving their health by eating more nutritious food. She’s everywhere. One of her efforts is sponsoring food-related films presented at Cine el Ray Theatre. This week the movie will be ‘Supersize Me.’”

The documentary illustrates the health hazards of eating junk food, Storz said. The TV crew contacted Salinas after reading her entries about nutrition on Facebook.

The organic farmers market, now in its fifth year, is a creation of Grow’n Growers, an AgriLife Extension program organized by Storz that teaches families how to grow organic vegetables on their own properties, then sell them to the public.

The first farmers market of the season was held Nov. 3 at Fireman’s Park in McAllen at North 1st Street and Business Highway 83. Except for holidays, it will be held there from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. almost every Saturday through mid-June, Storz said.

“We started this farmers market in San Juan in February 2008, the first of its kind in this area. We moved to Fireman’s Park in McAllen and think we have found our permanent ‘home.’ Last Saturday all 15 of our growers completely sold out, so I encourage folks who want to buy fresh, organic vegetables to come out early.”

In addition to the wide variety of winter fruits and vegetables on sale, the farmers market has attracted other “colorful” entrepreneurs who sell products not normally found in retail outlets, Storz said.

“This year we’ve got a young lady who makes and sells her own goat milk soap that is very good for your skin,” she said. “We’ve got another gentleman who will be selling brown, farm-fresh eggs from free-range chickens, also called pastured poultry.”

Another vendor, Eagle Catcher Farm and Ranch, will be selling grass-fed beef.

“The so-called Brangus grass-fed beef is so tasty and tender,” Storz said. “It comes from cattle that are a cross between Black Angus and Brahman.”

Also on hand will be a group of young ladies who call themselves the Pesto Girls.

“This is a team of children who grow basil in their own gardens and sell pesto, which is made by using olive oil and chopped basil. This market is so much fun, and Fireman’s Park is such a nice place. It’s a healthy way for the whole family to spend a Saturday morning.”

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