Farmers Market: Freshest produce in town

By Sarah Meyer, PNT Staff Writer

This year’s Portales Farmers Market is going well, farmers say, in spite of a few challenges.

Market manager Margie Plummer, who grows near Portales, said the season is going well.

“We have lots of vendors and lots of customers,” she said. Crops have done well for the farmers who sell at the market, though tomatoes were slow. Vegetables ripening now, late in the season, are doing better than in some years, she said.

Smoky Ball, whose farm is on East 18th St., said his crops are producing well — except for tomatoes.

Most of the farmers are satisfied with this season’s crop production, but Clifford and Martha Reeves, who farm northeast of Portales, said too much heat and wind made growing difficult. Nonetheless, the market has been “excellent,” said Clifford Reeves. “We have lots of customers.”

Carlos Paiz, who farms northwest of Portales, said, “It’s been a good summer. Once it got started, they’ve done real good.”

Freddy Ornelas, with Ledbetter Farms and Ornelas Chili, said the season has been “great.”

“We’ve got a little chili left,” he said, “maybe for three weeks.’

Don and Denise Wiley, owners of Good Shepherd Farm between Clovis and Portales, said the crops have done “really good” this year. Last year a hail storm destroyed many vegetables.

The market has been good this summer, Denise Wiley said, but “customers are starting to slow down.”

Customers say they appreciate the availability of fresh, locally grown vegetables.

“I like to get fresh vegetables,” said Jim Love, a regular customer for many years. “They’re a lot better ‘cause they’re a lot fresher and you know the guys it’s coming from.”

“I wouldn’t miss it,” said V. Scott Johnson. “No. 1, the produce is just fantastic. It’s a social event, and you get to visit with people. Over the years, you know all the producers. Where else can you mix a good time, good food, good people and good prices?”

Juliana Burciaga said she comes to the market “all the time.” Her favorite vegetable is hot chili.

The market continues every Monday and Thursday beginning at 5 p.m. through October.