Bellville Farmers Market Coming Soon! [VIDEO]

Farmers markets have been steadily growing in popularity as consumers are discovering the many advantages that going to these markets offers. In fact, consumer trends now portray a great demand for healthy and fresh products that are found in farmers markets. Aside from offering healthy foods, these markets offer an important link between farmers and consumers.  The farmers or sellers at a farmers market are normally the first people to benefit by gaining large cash returns for their products. In general, it is more lucrative to sell at a farmers market and receive hard cash than it is to wait for one month or longer when using wholesale marketing.

Pat Burns, Board Member of The Bellville Economic Development Corporation, was on hand last week to speak to members of the community about the plans the BEDC has for a Farmers Market in Bellville, TX.  The EDC has set aside a budget of up to $5,000 to put towards the marketing of the Bellville  Farmers’ Market.  They plan to begin in May of 2015 at the Pavilion downtown Bellville.  Tommi Beth Drab, owner of Farm to Market Produce located in Bellville, has taken on the role of organizing the Farmer’s Market.  Basically, it will be run as a members club.  The vendors will all pay dues each year and be able to utilize the space two Saturdays a month to bring fresh goods to the community and surrounding areas.  It will also be available to other vendors but they will have to pay full price to rent spaces at the Bellville Farmers’ Market.

Too Much Stuff“The idea of a farmer’s market has been in the making for the past couple of years,” stated Burns.  Now with the help of local farmers it will become a reality.  Membership is preferred to sell at the Bellville Farmers’ Market. Members receive reduced fees, preferred and guaranteed spaces, and a voice in the market organization.   Membership will be in effect from January 1st to December 31st of each year. Persons who produce food and agricultural products that they wish to sell at the Bellville Farmers Market may apply to the Executive Committee for admission to the Market by filling out a vendor application.  All vendors must be approved annually for participation in the market. This process includes attending a vendor meeting, completing all renewal paperwork, submitting farm/ownership updates, and completing site visits (as deemed necessary by Market staff).  The annual vendor fee is $20.00 per vendor plus a $10.00 market fee for each market attended. The first Market is free with membership.  Non-member vendors must be approved by the Market Manager or Executive Committee.  They will be charged a $25.00 fee for each market attended, and are subject to all Bellville Farmers Market Rules and Regulations.

The Bellville Farmers Market is a producer-only food market. All products sold must be grown or produced by the vendor.

All persons or businesses wishing to become a vendor at the Bellville Farmers Market must file with the Market Manager or Executive Committee an application verifying that they are the actual grower or producer of the specific items that they wish to sell at the market. All vendors agree to allow Bellville Farmers Market representatives to inspect their production facilities, if needed, so as to maintain the integrity of a producers’ market.

Vendor shall be defined as the producer of goods sold and shall include the spouse, siblings, children, parents, and employees of the applicant who assist in the cultivation of the same property listed in the application under “name of the farm/production facility.” Note, however, that farmers may sell limited amounts of products on behalf of neighboring farms on a temporary basis, with advance approval of and at the discretion of Market staff.  One of the market’s key objectives is to help small entrepreneurs develop their businesses; therefore, vendors who already maintain retail operations in and around Bellville are not invited to participate.

Items allowed for sale shall include raw vegetables and fruits; edible plants; eggs; honey; shelled peas and beans; cut, washed and unwashed, bagged vegetables; garlic; spices; grains; herbs; bedding plants; baked goods; candy; coated and uncoated nuts; unroasted nut butters; fruit butters; canned jam or jelly; fruit pies; dehydrated fruit or vegetables; including dried beans; popcorn and popcorn snacks; cereal; including granola; dry mix; vinegar; pickles; mustard; roasted coffee or dry tea, or a dried herb or dried herb mix; vegetarian focaccias and sandwiches, pies, stuffed breads, fresh pasta, fresh juice and cider; raw and frozen meats (beef, lamb, mutton, pork, goat); raw and frozen small poultry; fluid milk and fresh dairy products; cheese; canned and pickled products; cured sausage and meat are eligible.

Remember, vendors are permitted to sell only items that Bellville Farmers Market has approved for sale and are permitted under the Texas Department of State Health Services Guidelines.

Items that will not be permitted are: Prepared frozen entrees and appetizers, fresh or frozen meat pies, canned or frozen meat stews, Produce grown or produced at a location not listed on the application, Items not approved in advance by market staff, Items purchased by the vendor for resale, Crafts (inedible products such as art, candles, jewelry, textiles).

Vendors are allowed to sell only the products that are listed on their vendor application form and that market staff have approved. This measure helps ensure a sustainable product mix in a small market and the safeguards the Bellville Farmers Market mission as a growers’ market. Should you wish to expand your line of products, please contact Market staff about new additions for approval and submit your product to the next scheduled Market Management meeting.

Products are approved based upon the Market’s stated criteria and specific needs for a balanced product mix. Some products that are delicious may not be a good fit for our market.

Marketing is going to play a big factor in the Bellville Farmers’ Market and the BEDC is there to help them get moving in the right path.  Renee Sullins will be in charge of marketing for the group. Sullins addressed the group, “My main job is to bring as many people as I can from Bellville and surrounding areas to help you sell as much as you can.”  She went on to explain to the group just how she plans to do that by using social media and advertising with both print and radio advertising.

The next meeting will be towards the end of February first of March anyone interested in joining the group or if you have any questions contact Tommi Beth Drab at (979) 865-3679 or you can email Renee Sullins at discoverbellville@gmail.com.  The Bellville Farmers Market also has a Facebook Page as well as a website: www.bellvillefarmersmarket.com

 

Bellville Farmers Market 1st Meeting from Austin County News Online on Vimeo.