Fresh pickings

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

As local farmers set up their produce, customers mingled, awaiting the signal that would officially open the Portales Farmers’ Market for the afternoon.

In a flurry of activity Thursday at the corner of First Street and Avenue B, seven farmers’ market vendors sold a variety of produce to customers, including squash, cucumbers, watermelon, fresh herbs, green chili, okra and tomatoes.

“We love to come here and buy the fresh vegetables,” said Cara Benson, who said she buys the produce from the farmers’ market because she knows it’s fresh and she is helping to support the local farmers. “The black-eyed peas are my favorite,” Benson said.

Local farmer and market manager vendor Smokey Ball kept busy selling Japanese eggplants, fresh onions and a few yellow tomatoes.

“We usually do pretty good,” Ball said. “You get people that just get used to trading with you and they trade with you every week.”

Having already filled a sack full of fresh produce, Kendra Mathews continued to buy produce to feed her family. Mathews visits the market weekly and is able to purchase produce with checks through the WIC Program, she said.

“It helps out a lot to be able to get the fresh produce,” Mathews said.

Selling produce in the Portales and Clovis area for the past 20 years, local farmer Carlos Paiz stayed busy as he quickly sold out his produce in the first few minutes.

“We sell out every time we come,” Paiz said.

Paiz faced some weather woes early in the season when the majority of his crop was damaged by hail, forcing him to replant what he could, Paiz said.

“Everything in the second planting is coming off already and it’s just beautiful,” Paiz said.