Kirk Lovett, President Eventive Marketing Solutions
Yesterday was not only the Summer Solstice, it was the third Saturday of the month and thus The Garland Marketplace! There were at least twice as many food vendors at Saturday's event as there were the last time I visited. I'm very excited about this as the best way to build a healthy local economy is to move in the direction of a local plant-based economy. The more people who grow plants locally, the more stable and prosperous our local economy will become and the less we will be affected by national and international economic recessions that have become the rule and not the exception for the lives of all Americans.
Charlie Bevilacqua, a member of the board of directors for Loving Garland Green went with me. One of the first stops Charlie and I made was to say hello to Kirk Lovett. Kirk is the man whose marketing firm heads up the efforts to put the Garland Marketplace together once a month. This is the second year for the monthly marketplace on the square. In a rare moment I snapped a photo of Kirk sitting down. Part of the proceeds that Kirk takes in from the vendors goes to The Good Samaritans, a nonprofit organization here in Garland. This group is dedicated to preventing homelessness and hunger among the working poor.
We also stopped and chatted with Anita Goebel, the council member representing the downtown area of Garland. All our council members and Mayor Athas have supported the efforts to get a marketplace in downtown Garland, but I know that Anita has worked tirelessly in making this event happen for the citizens of Garland. In addition, she continues to support it well. I've never been to the market without seeing her there.
Special Note to my readers: I was in a hurry when I visited the marketplace as there was also a wedding and the Midsummer Nights Garden tour on my schedule for this day. Please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if I got any names or phone numbers incorrect and also to add any additional information. All these people are too important to the prosperity of our local community and its economy to get any information about them wrong.
Returning Food Vendors to the Garland Marketplace
The following vendors are among those whom I know have appeared at the Garland Marketplace at least once. Some, like the Ragsdales, haven't missed a time since the marketplace opened up last year.
Ragsdale Farms were there.
My friends Paul and Zach Ragsdale from Ragsdale Farms were there and I had a chance for a brief chat with them. Ragsdale Farms is located in Caddo Mills and they sell aquaponic produce, fresh farm eggs, mesquite wood and Moringa trees. Sounds like Zach is moving closer to commercial production of his Moringa Oleifera health products. The Moringa is tropical plant said to have over 46 antioxidants and 92 nutrients. It also contains 36 anti-inflammatory and over 20 amino acids. Moringa leaves also contain vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B7, C, D, E and K, Moringa has many medicinal uses and has been used to treat conditions such arthritis, rheumatism, anemia, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy and stomach complications such as spasms, ulcers, stomach pain and constipation. It is said that Moringa can also help to boost the immune system. Zach grows Moringa trees at the farm and he sells them at the Garland marketplace. Go there in July and you can buy one. The Ragsdales are great with children too. Give them a holler and schedule a tour for your Girl Scout or Boy Scout troop. Give them the opportunity to see a real working farm with ducks and chickens. Get Paul started on the topic of chickens and he will talk your leg off.
Granny's Gourmet was represented.
Last month I purchased a delicious banana nut bread loaf from Suzanne Matthews of Granny's Gourmet so I stopped by to chat briefly with her on Saturday. Business is going great. If you want to order something delicious from this Mesquite TX bakery, give Suzanne a call at 214-809-9984. If you have a sweet tooth, you won't regret it.
Tom Whitley scooping up some of his delicious popcorn for Charlie and Liz.
T.W. Dreamer, Concessions were there with their delicious kettlecorn
Charlie and I took shameful advantage of Thomas Whitley's generosity. Tom is a member and official popper of this family-owned business.. Tom popped a fresh kettle of corn for us and gave us a bag. This food vendor is a locally owned business here in Garland. They are located at 3352 Broadway Blvd. Suite 513- Garland 75043. Call Tom at 214-388-8973 and schedule him for your event or fundraiser.
Jami's Handmade Pies & More
Next month I will buy one of the delicious-looking pecan pies from this food vendor. Jami's slogan is "For Some It's about the filling--For others it's about the crust--For us it's both. If you can't wait until next month for the taste of what looks like a delicious homemade pecan pie call Jami's at 214-704-3831. Jami has some stiff competition. Another local food vendor and friend of mine, Delores Elder Jones of D's Delectables, makes the best pecan pie I've ever eaten thus far in my life.
Food vendors and plant vendors who were new to me at the Garland Marketplace
Fat Lady Foods
Melyssa Childs-Wiley, owner of Fat Lady Foods make delicious jams. Like most of the vendors here at Garland Marketplace, Melyssa purchases the goods (that she doesn't grow herself) from local folks. As for her commercial kitchen, she goes to the Hour Kitchen right here in Garland where she lives. If you are looking for some fantastic jam, give Fat Lady Foods a try. When you do, remember that when you buy local, more of the money you spend is recirculated in your local economy than when you don't. 469-744-5700. Melyssa is so local that I can even walk over to her house at 205 Faircrest Drive- Garland 75040.
Stephanie Cole--Owner of Pic-licious
I predict that someone is going to want to support Stephanie big time with her business. Like Melyssa, and most local entrepreneurs, Stephanie also uses local sources for her supplies. Her food products are all pickle-based and quite interesting combinations. For example, she makes sweet and savory, "guilt-free" dessert pickles. featuring: Caramel English Toffee, Dutch Chocolate, French Vanilla Ice Cream, Banana Cream Pie, Cheesecake and Peach Cobbler. She makes beverage pickles such as Pina Colada and Hurricane Rum. She makes fruity pickles such as strawberry and grape. She makes spicy pickles. There is no end in sight to the variety of pic-licious pickles as there is no end to Stephanie's imagination. However she did tell me that some of her experiments don't turn out to be pic-licious and thus don't get introduced into her product line. The sample I had was a chocolate pickled cucumber. I know, it sounds awful, but guess what--it was pic-licious. I asked Stephanie how she got started in this business. She told me that she had a relative who pickled just about everything under the sun. Indeed, as Stephanie says at her site, Pic-licious, her pickles will add a new twist to any meal. To contact her directly, call her at 214-670-2042 or you can write to her at email@example.com .
David Price with his tropical plants
Last fall David purchased a green house and assembled it in his backyard. From there he has followed his ambition to propagate tropical plants such as passion flower and plumeria. He had somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 plants for sale at his booth. Who knows where this newly started venture will end. Perhaps he will sell to florist shops eventually and/or perhaps garden stores such as our own local Rohdes. Perhaps he will become a wholesale florist. If you think passion flowers are cheap--think again. FTD florists charge $124 a bouquet for them.
"If you treat your dog like a princess with Phideaux Cuisine, you'll never have a mutt." We met Roger, one of the owners of Phideaux Cuisine. He and his partner of 19 years, Chuck, grew their gourmet pet treat business out of their mutual love of animals. Here is an example of the ingredients for one of their products: Buddylicious Cake Dog Treats: Brown rice, applesauce, powdered milk, vegetable oil, eggs, parsley and cinnamon. They are located in Royse City TX 75189. Visit their website at Phideaux Cuisine.
EVEN MORE VENDORS WERE SELLING PLANT-BASED PRODUCTS
I can't begin to cover all the vendors there but here are just a few briefs on some more that Charlie and I visited:
Free Spirit Creations was there with their awesome eco friendly products. This locally based company sells their great soaps and candles at numerous locations throughout the DFW area.
Satchamo's Bakery is new to the DFW scene and if their baked goods tastes as good as they look. . . . Satchamo's is nearly new and did not have business cards yet to hand out. Yea! Another new local business.
InHome Wholisticare & Wellness
From their website: "InHome Wholisticare and Wellness, locally owned by two sisters and a life-long friend, have over forty-five years of combined experience in healthcare. In 2011, Cecilia Mitchell retired from a successful career as a Physical Therapist and home health care company owner. After experiencing the challenges of our current healthcare system and her own healthcare challenges, it became clear to Cecilia that prevention of disease and management of health challenges through WELLNESS was the key to well-being."
"Equipped with her extensive knowledge of nutrition, exercise, and healthcare, Cecilia had a vision of integrating these skills to create a private duty homecare company that provides compassionate care with a focus on the whole person and that promoted independence through WELLNESS." They featured tasty samples of some of the food they prepare for their clients. As you can tell from their beautiful smiles, they exude health and kindness. Who wouldn't love to have them in their homes taking care of a loved one?
Round Rock Honey Comany
The Round Rock Honey Company was well-represented. Visit their website to learn more about the Texas honey company.
South Texas Beef Jerky -- Daryl Haynes makes some great beef jerky. I especially like his habanero pepper beef jerky. Charlie bought two bags.
The Spicewood Food Company
Next month I will certainly purchase one of the aged Balsamic Vinegars from this vendor as I'm addicted to french bread dipped in a good balsamic vinegar. I hope he returns in July.
Tjernlund Goat Farm from Grand Saline, TX. They make all natural goat milk soaps. Their bars contain at least 25% goat milk. In case you don't know it, goat milk slows down the skin aging process, retains skin moisture and rebuilds skin cells. They currently have 29 goats on their farm. I invited them to Loving Garland Green's Midsummer Nights Garden Tour, but they had to get home to milk their goats.
People are waking up to the tremendous economic potential behind a local plant-based economy. Certainly the vendors at the Garland Marketplace seem to have caught on to the possibilities offered by such an economy as opposed to the unmanageable international economy that has in essence abandoned Main Street. As more people grow at least some of their own food, we will see more and more of this shift over to a local, plant-based economy. Urban gardeners generate new markets and support existing markets--all forming a stronger, more resilient local economy--one that is not at the mercy of national and international economic trends. Let's get out and support these people. In fact, let's become one of them! By working together and getting to know and support our neighbors, local people can and will rebuild our local economy.
In closing, we all need to remember there is more to value than the price of an item. Some folks complain the price of handmade items are more expensive than commercially produced goods. This is true. However, there are other benefits we derive from purchasing locally-made goods that are not readily apparent. Most local urban farmers and artisans support a whole network of local businesses. Many of the people I chatted with yesterday emphasized to me they used local businesses as their suppliers. This is why so much more of the money we give for the purchase of goods from a locally-owned business stays in our community and enriches all of us by strengthening our local economy.
This is not to say we don't need and shouldn't support chain stores. However two points on that issue: 1) Spread it around by supporting locals too. In fact you might even be surprised when it comes to prices as I sometimes find better deals on plants at Rohdes and Roaches than I do at their chain store competitors. And 2) When you do shop at a chain, shop at one that is located in your city. For example, if you live in Garland and shop in Sachse, 2% of any Texas sales tax you may pay on goods purchased goes to Sachse, not Garland.
NOTE: I apologize to many other vendors who are not mentioned in this article, but as I mentioned, this was a whirlwind tour as Charlie and I had a wedding to attend and were also each hosting a garden tour at our homes later that evening. We didn't stop at any of the vendors who were not promoting food or plant-based items. You'll have to go and see for yourself on Saturday, July 19 (the third Saturday of the month). We will stop at those booth too and visit with those vendors.