Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Denton Community Market continues to grow
The market is open every Saturday from May to October.
The Denton Community Market has only been around for two years, but the attention it has gained would suggest otherwise.
Since its beginning in April 2010, new vendors have flocked to the market, about a minute-long drive west of the Denton square, finding it an ideal place for small businesses to thrive.
“Four years ago, after visiting cities all around the country and exploring their markets, I thought Denton should have this,” said Kati Trice, market coordinator. “I couldn’t believe that with the creative atmosphere that Denton has, that we didn’t have a farmers market.”
The market plays host to an assortment of goods, from Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches to handmade crayons crafted from old wax. All vendors sign a “green vendor” agreement, and recycling and composting areas are available on site.
“In our first year I was having a hard time just getting 20 people involved,” Trice said. “Now I probably have between three to eight new vendor inquiries every week, so there’s a lot of interest. I think Denton has been waiting for something like this.”
Many gardeners who are new to the market began selling items because of their passion for fresh produce.
“We were wanting to have wholesome food for ourselves and thought if we’re going to grow, we might as well do it for everyone else,” said Andrea Buxton of Denton’s Backyard Farms.
Matt Gorham of DBF has been gardening for seven years, and over the past three has been growing organically. The pair has learned how to garden organically through a trial and error process, and the two participate in other local health-conscious pursuits.
“We contribute to the annual 100-mile lunch put on by Hannah’s Off the Square,” Buxton said. “The lunch includes food produced within 100 miles of the Denton area.”
For other vendors such as The Pickled Carrot, which serves traditional Vietnamese style banh mi sandwiches, the market is the perfect place for the new business to bloom.
“[Cuong Mai] graduated from the UNT hospitality school,” said Whitney Dewell of The Pickled Carrot. “There’s really no Vietnamese food right in the area, so it made sense to have this here.”
The Pickled Carrot offers pork, chicken, or tofu sandwiches topped off with fresh vegetables as well as traditional Vietnamese iced coffee or cucumber limeades.
In addition to fresh food, local crafters and artists have found a home for their handmade creations. The husband and wife team behind Designs of Nature brings life to the art of jewelry-making.
“I love the different techniques that can be used and how all of the colors blend together,” said Ingrid-Hoffens-Lantz of Designs of Nature.
Both Ingrid and husband Randall Lantz learned techniques from the Arlington gem and mineral club, and like many vendors at the market, have a commitment to sustainability.
“You never really have a lot of waste,” Randall said. “Any scraps of glass from larger projects can be reused to make something else like pendants.”
For those seeking some relaxation, the Salted Sanctuary offers handmade soaps and bath salts, which are tailored to fit the market’s niche customer base.
“I’m always listening to see what customers want,” said Kimberly Bien, creator of Salted Sanctuary. “That’s how I come up with things like the patchouli and sweet orange scrub and our coffee scrub.”
Bien, who formerly worked on the retail side of the beauty industry, left to pursue a more community-based approach to sales.
“In April I decided to walk away from corporate America,” Bien said. “I’ve always loved cosmetics but now I want to pursue it from a personal one-on-one business approach.”
Because Bien uses local, preservative-free ingredients, available items change weekly, so customers can always expect something new.
“For years I was accustomed to retail prices,” Bien said. “But we try to be affordable with prices that match what the customer is actually getting.”
The market is open every Saturday from May to October. It gets started at 9 a.m. and runs until vendors are cleared out. The first Saturday of every month, the market features local musicians who play on the porch of the Peggy Riddle museum, which faces the market.
“Every month we have meetings, and it’s an opportunity for people to give any suggestions,” Trice said. “It’s important to me as the coordinator to have open lines of communication with the community.”
Pegasus News Content partner - North Texas Daily
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