Monday, March 18, 2013
Plano set to open farmers market at Fairview Farms on April 20
It will be open every Saturday through late October.
PLANO More than a year after Kari Gates began the process of forming a farmers market in Plano, opening day is right around the corner.
Gates, who operates Spring Creek Organic Farms near Plano East, got final approval from the Plano City Council in January to open her market. In the last two months Gates and her market manager have lined up more than 40 vendors for the April 20 grand opening.
"We want people to be able to get everything they need at one place," Gates said. "People want to support local producers, but they don't want to drive 47 different places to do it. We also want to be an educational arena where people can learn how the honey is produced, how olive oil is made, and why the stuff you buy at our market is different than the stuff you buy at the grocery store. We want it to be interactive."
Among the vendors who will peddle their wares at the Collin County Farmers Market at Fairview Farms are Lucky Layla Farms from Plano, Firewheel Coffee Roasters from Garland, and McLemore Ranch Beef from Rockwall. Other vendors will sell products ranging from handmade soap and organic pest controls to Texas-produced olive oil and honey. Gates herself will also be a vendor at the market, selling certified-organic plants that people can purchase and then transfer to their own garden.
Clearing the way for vendors to sell more than just produce was one of the biggest hurdles Gates had to clear. Prior to January, the city of Plano had an ordinance that banned the sale of items such as meat, wine, honey and dairy products from farmers markets. If that ordinance had not been repealed, Gates said her market model would not have been financially feasible.
"If people had to drive to McKinney to get meat, they wouldn't then come to us for produce. They would just buy their fruits and vegetables in McKinney," Gates said. "For us to remain competitive and to draw the consumer in we have to offer a variety of products. If you bought meat last week you may not need meat this week, but you may need produce so you will come back to the market. Variety is the spice of life and we need to make sure we have everything our consumers need."
She said the process of opening Plano's first farmers market has been tiring, but in the end she feels it will be worth it since it will allow Plano residents to shop at home, rather than having to travel to markets in nearby cities.
"It is all about passion," Gates said. "We are trying to give our consumers the best and healthiest stuff that is local and sustainable."
The market will operate each Saturday from April 20 until late October at Fairview Farms, located at the northeast corner of U.S. 75 and Parker Road. Market hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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