Market offers fresh products

Paula Cronic: Freedom Newspapers

Corn, watermelon and tomatoes are just a few of the many fresh fruits and vegetables sought out by Portales residents who gathered at the farmers market on Monday.

According to Margie Plummer, manager for the Portales Farmers Market, the market is an age old tradition which has come alive the last few years with people wanting fresher, more locally grown produce.

Michelle Green checked out a couple of stands and decided upon onions and summer squash to take home for some summer grilling.
“We came out to get fresh produce and to see what (the farmers market) is like, I’ve not been here before I’ve always just passed by and I wanted some fresh produce,” Greene said. “It’s something different than Wal-Mart.”

Fresh produce is indeed what customers get when they purchase fruits and vegetables at the farmers market because the produce is locally grown. Quite different than produce sold in grocery stores, which Plummer said could have been grown in Mexico, California or Florida and may have been sitting on the shelves for a few days after being shipped in to the store.

“What they are buying here has just been picked probably yesterday or today,” Plummer said.

Freshness is a factor for customer John Bonifant who goes to the farmers market every week in order to obtain the level of freshness he prefers his vegetables to have.

This time, Bonifant opted for some green beans and rhubarb. He said his wife uses the rhubarb to make special foods like rhubarb cheesecake.

Cara Carling came out with sisters Wendy and Kendra to sell some of their vegetables in order to make some extra cash. Wendy said it’s also an opportunity for them to share what they grow with the people.

Zigrids Steinbergs started his garden later than usual this year and is without tomatoes for which he said he always receives requests.
“Normally I have gorgeous tomatoes right now but I have greenbeans, rhubarb and Italian honey figs,” Steinbergs said.

He said he hopes to have his tomatoes as well as cucumbers, watermelons and other produce within the next few weeks.
The farmers market starts at 4 p.m. every Monday and Thursday and is located at the corner of First Street and Avenue B. It opened in early July and will continue through the end of October.
Those interested in selling produce must grow it themselves, within 60 miles of Portales. Fees to sell are $5 a day or $50 for the year. For more information, contact Plummer at 760-0690.