Denton Farmer’s Market provides healthy, ethical local produce

Denton Farmer’s Market provides healthy, ethical local produce

Denton Farmer’s Market provides healthy, ethical local produce
October 08
16:24 2017

While grocery stores remain a default resource for many residents of North Texas, farmer’s markets aim to provide a more ethical, locally-sourced hub for eats and treats. The Denton Farmer’s Market, located right by the Denton Community Market, aims to bring the community fresh goods from nearby.

Local farmers bring a number of fruits and vegetables that are all grown in Denton County, with the exception of crops unable to grow in North Texas’ environment.

“We get corn from south Texas and tomatoes from Marfa [in west Texas],” Denton farmer Keith Copp said. “[We grow] 70 percent of it ourselves, but we do have to reach to other sources, like east Texas, when things are out of season or do not grow in the Denton area.”

The farmer’s market tents can be found towards the back parking lot at the intersection of Hickory and Mulberry Streets. The market starts bright and early at 7 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and continues until all the produce has sold out.

Hamilton Daniels, a farmer at FunGuys Gourmet Mushrooms, specializes in growing 100 percent organic mushrooms. FunGuys has been a part of the Denton Farmer’s Market for three years. After they finish growing their mushrooms, they then turn it into compost to sell to gardeners and nurseries.

Daniels said mushroom compost is very nutrient-rich and beneficial for growing many types of gardens. Many of the mushrooms FunGuys grow are used at local restaurants around the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The farmer’s market in Denton embodies the “farm to table” process, meaning the produce comes directly from a farm without going through any factories or distributors.

“We grow it, we pick it and we put it on the table [so] it is ready to be cooked,” Daniels said.

Purchasing fresh, locally-grown produce typically translates into healthier food for the consumer. Food purchased from the farmer’s market is almost always organic and GMO-free.

Although this type of produce can often be purchased from grocery stores like Sprouts and Whole Foods, buying from farmer’s markets helps to support local farmers who rely on growing and selling produce as their main source of income.

“You are going directly from the farmer instead of a warehouse,” Copp said. “Most things are vine-ripe as well, which cannot be established in a distribution factory.”

The term “vine-ripe” means the produce stayed on the vine longer in comparison to factory-produced items. Factory-produced items do not have enough time to establish the vine-ripe condition because they are forced to grow a lot faster.

Farm produce also has a longer shelf life than average grocery store produce. The color of the fruits and vegetables often hints at how full of nutrients the food is. Produce from farmer’s markets tend to carry more nutrients, resulting in more vibrant colors.

Shopper Christina Johnson is a full supporter of farmer’s markets and uses them as her primary source for produce.

“The food lasts a lot longer and is a lot fresher,” Johnson said. “I have kale in my fridge from two weeks ago, and it is still fresh.”

In addition to providing access to higher quality produce and being better for the environment, farmer’s markets also allow shoppers to talk to farmers and learn more about their food and how it’s grown.

“The benefit from buying from a farmer’s market is the fact you know exactly where your food comes from,” Johnson said. “The farmers live in the Denton area, and you can ask them any questions.”

The Denton Farmer’s Market has garnered enough traffic for farmers to sustain themselves by growing and selling produce.

“I’ve been living off this for 15 years, and it still remains successful,” Copp said.

Daniels said the market gets the attention and customers it needs to be successful.

“It has been great and very consistent,” Daniels said. “We have regulars, and we get new folks every week.”

Featured Image: An owner’s son organizes products to be sold Sept. 29 at the Denton County Farmers Market. Dana McCurdy

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Grace Cottingham

Grace Cottingham

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