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Victoria County Farmers Market kicks off with chilly weather


May 3, 2011 at 12:03 a.m.

Three-year-old Elizabeth Janak checks the cash flow for her mother Sara Janak on opening day of the Victoria County Farmers Market. Cool temperatures Tuesday morning made shopping at the open-air market an unseasonable pleasure.

Sara Janak braced herself against the morning breeze as she gathered up vegetables for a customer.

"Do you need a plastic bag? Or help out to the car?" she asked, tugging her grey jacket tighter around herself. "It's a little cold out today."

The Victoria County Farmers Market's spring season got off to a chilly start Tuesday as a cold snap swept through the Crossroads.

Unseasonable weather is nothing new to the market, said Jerry Martin, who has sold at the events for three or four years.

"It's always rainy or cold on opening day," he said, leaning against his truck. "I don't know why, but it always happens."

Rebecca Graeber said she could do without the wind, but the cool conditions were good for the homemade cakes, breads and more that she sold.

"It keeps the peanut brittle from melting and sticking together," she said, stacking a jar of dewberry jam in with other varieties. "For me, it's better than the hot and humid weather."

Mission Valley resident Veronica Riehs sported a new short haircut for the Texas heat, but said it made Tuesday a bit uncomfortable. Regardless, she said the weather was just fine for the herbs and plants she sold.

"If it was less humid, it could be a problem," she said. "That kind of weather can dry out the leaves. But this is OK."

The market has some change up its sleeve this time around, said Noah Thompson, market manager.

This season will include green thumb discounts, or unannounced sales, said Thompson, who also sells produce. The goal is to draw customers throughout the day, rather than just the early-morning rush.

"The times will change, so you won't know when they'll be," Thompson said, explaining discounts will vary, depending on the individual sellers. "If we had it at the same time every day, people would wait for it."

Victoria resident Elizabeth Price used the market as a chance to cash in her WIC vouchers. Her children eat a lot, she joked, and the fruits and vegetables are good for them.

Although she also shops at chain grocery stores, Price said, she likes knowing that she's helping local farmers when she visits the market.

"Some years they face droughts and sometimes there's flooding. It isn't easy," she said. "It's nice to support them."

Scott Barton just happened to notice the market during a drive down Navarro Street and decided to stop by with his 3-year-old son, Ashton. It was a nice outing for the duo, Barton said, explaining he also bought chili pepper plants for the yard.

As for Janak, president of the Victoria County Farmers Market Association, she said she looked forward to the upcoming season, breezy conditions or not.

"I think we'll be wishing for a little more chilly weather later in the season," she said with a smile. "I think we're off to a good start."



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