Keeping it Fresh with Larry Simmons at the Downtown Farmers Market
Ripe fruit, fresh veggies and friendly faces await you at Lubbock's Downtown Farmers Market. Every Saturday from now until October, Lubbockites and visitors will experience an authentic connection between farmers and local artisans.
We caught up with the man behind the plan, Larry Simmons, for an in-depth Q&A about how he keeps things fresh and people coming back over and over again.
Can you tell me how the idea came about and what started it all?
A friend of ours planted a flower/gourd garden in the space between Tornado Gallery and the Cactus Theater. With the response that was generated, artists tend to grow/appreciate gardens and gardeners do the same for art. We talked about a small farmers market, couldn't put it together and knew nothing about it. Going into 2009, we saw the need for more space for artists in the First Friday Art Trail so we created the Downtown Farmers Market as an event for local artists to show on the second Saturday each month. We had Apple Country also each market. Around then we were introduced to some folks in the city and state with nutrition, health and wellness as their goals. We had a large meeting of growers and others and added a few folks in the 2010 season that included flowers from Shallowater, plants and the like. It worked well for that year. That really started the "green" side of the Downtown Farmers Market.
When was the first Downtown Farmers Market held?
The first Downtown Farmers Market was the second Saturday in May of 2009 with the help of crowd source funding.
Five years later, how are you able to host a weekly market?
We set a schedule this year that coincides with the perceived season. October is generally the last of it in Texas. Since our harvest locally doesn't kick in until July-that's not much time. We're not even sure what we'll have then. We're hoping that creating a fixed seasonal event will encourage folks to plant early and late crops. It's a nice family of people that attend and support the market and there are always lots if smiles. I'm also always anxious the day before to see the crowd reaction, how many come and if they have a good time.
When you are a day away from another market, what excites you the most?
That this is a very local thing. We've done this all ourselves, the city has been great and everyone has gotten on board. What I mean is that we track down the vendors, make sure we stay in the food regs and try to fulfill the needs of the shoppers. It's a very personal mission that the market folks undertake. It's not for money, it's because it helps us all; it's an old school neighbor thing.
What is the most important thing you want a visitor to know about the Downtown Farmers Market?
It's an old school idea that is so contemporary...a public market, in an urban setting, showcasing local food. That's just cool!
Although it's a couple of years old, we caught up with Larry in this video about all the fun that goes on at the Downtown Farmers Market.
Here's all the facts you need to add a little freshness to your Saturday morning in downtown Lubbock.
Where: 19th Street and Buddy Holly Avenue
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday from now through October. Get there early to get the best products and goods.
For more fun things to see in Lubbock, be sure to visit us at www.visitlubbock.org.