Last year’s shutdown dealt a crippling blow to businesses around Lubbock – causing many to shutter. As a result, supporting local businesses has become a big focus for many Lubbockites. One way to support local producers is through farmers markets.
The Wolfforth Farmers Market was busy on a recent Saturday morning. Patrons mill around the area, speaking with vendors and purchasing goods. Mahriah Dickson, who runs the farmers market, looks on at the customers as she explains how having a local market affects a community.
“It just brings the whole community together,” Dickson said.
She said she saw a need for a year-round farmers market when Lubbock’s Downtown Market closed in October. She asked other vendors if they would be interested in selling at her and her husband’s land in Wolfforth.
“We had seven show up that first Saturday. We all just sat out in the dirt with our tents and hoped that people would come. It was just word of mouth and it snowballed,” Dickson explained.
Now, on a typical Saturday, dozens of vendors line the dirt pathways of the farmers market. Perhaps the most important thing to Dickson is where the profits go.
“Our money stays local,” she said.
At the farmers market, resources go straight from producer to consumer, utilizing the “farm to table” method. Buyers know exactly where their food comes from and can speak directly with the farmer growing it.
For farmers like Jim Todd, personal connection is key.
“We focus on, if it’s not grown here or on my neighbor’s property, we’re not going to sell it,” he said.
Todd lives in Plainview and makes the 50-mile drive to set up at the Wolfforth Farmers Market every weekend.
“Because of the number of people coming through, it’s worth the 50-mile drive to bring fresh veggies,” Todd remarked.
Like Todd, many farmers prefer selling at these smaller markets over larger ones. By selling directly to the consumer, they avoid paying costs for shipping, storage, and inventory control, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Wolfforth Farmers Market is also a space for people to sell hand-made items without needing a storefront. Husband and wife duo Lucas and Lauren Coburn make all kinds of things from charcuterie boards, to candles and hats. They have been selling at the Wolfforth Farmers Market for a little over a year.
“It’s been a great starting point, and a lot of people out here tend to branch out and start opening their own businesses, as well, so it’s been great for us,” Lauren Coburn said.
Sales from their booth also allow The Coburns to give back to their community.
“Our purpose is just kind of to do things for other people, so we donate 10% of everything we make back to foster and adoption services here in town, as well,” Lauren said.
Like Jim Todd, the Coburns appreciate the sense of community a farmers market provides. Lucas Coburn believes shopping at the market offers people an experience the big chain stores cannot.
“It allows a chance for the community to see there are a lot of great local businesses instead of just shopping on Amazon and Walmart,” Lucas said.