Who’s behind your locally grown produce? Meet some of the folks here
By KIM PIERCE
KIM PIERCE The Dallas Morning NewsSpecial Contributor
Published: 08 May 2012 01:29 PM
Here are snapshots of a few of the producers you’ll meet or have met at local farmers markets. Getting to know the producers and their stories is all part of the fun.
Coppell Farmers Market
Steve and Cat Elliott’s popular Elliott Grows will return to the Coppell Farmers Market, exclusively, starting at the end of June. The formerly Argyle-based hydroponic greens growers got a chance to purchase their own 10-acre place north of Aubrey and are in the process of setting up their greenhouse. “We look to do a lot of expanding,” Steve says, including dirt-grown crops, chickens, honey, pecans and more; fall is the target date for those additions.
A newcomer last year to McKinney’s markets, Stonebranch MicroFarm is a tiny Certified Naturally Grown family operation on a single, intensely farmed acre near Chambersville. (Certified Naturally Grown is a peer-regulated alternative to the federal organic certification system.) Alan Robbins and daughter Erin hand-farm using raised beds, drip irrigation and intensive recycling. Besides eggs and typical summer crops, they grow loofah squash, which produces loofah sponges, and they’re about to harvest blackberries and raspberries, with figs and pomegranates to come.
Coppell Farmers Market
Jay and Laurie Waligora grow greenhouse greens year-round for the Coppell market at their Hiram Farm outside Wills Point, with the help of Jay’s mom, Pat Gaines. They also grow dirt crops, such as onions, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes, and raise chickens as part of their sustainable methods on their 4 acres. Because their flock includes eight types, the chickens produce rainbow-hued eggs: “We have anything from white, brown, pink, green, beige,” and pack them so everyone gets an assortment.
Eagle Mountain Farmhouse Cheese
Three years ago, Dave Eagle threw himself into cheese-making full time after becoming enamored of the local market scene in Europe. “Gouda was our spark,” he says. Last year at the prestigious American Cheese Society Conference and Competition in Montreal, Eagle Mountain Farmhouse Cheese’s Birdville Trappist style gouda topped its category. “Our Granbury Gold young gouda missed third by one point,” Eagle says. Eagle Mountain gets its milk from Sandy Creek Farm in Bridgeport and makes cheese at the factory store in Granbury. Catch the cheeses at White Rock Local Market, Coppell and Cowtown Farmers Market.
White Rock Local Market
Caroline and Allen Fruth’s Fruth Farms Southwest near Cash earned a following at Flavors From Afar in Snider Plaza. Even after the store closed and the Fruths moved their goods to nearby Plaza Health Foods, Caroline says they couldn’t keep up with the demand for their “gently and naturally raised beef.” So the Fruths combined forces with Rockin’ E Ranch near Cash and Runnin’ N Cattle Co. near Wills Point to form the gRazed beef co-op. They just started at White Rock and sold out their first day. “I knew the niche market was there if we could meet demand,” Caroline says. Fruth also brings eggs and goat meat, as well as goat butter on special order.