Local vendors in Downtown Bryan sell a variety of products each Saturday, ranging from fresh produce, meats and eggs, to artisan soaps and candles.
The Brazos Valley Farmers’ Market Association formed in the 1970s to give local farmers and producers the chance to sell their products to customers wanting more than just a grocery store purchase. Today, the farmers’ market is located at 500 North Main St. in Downtown Bryan. It is open every Saturday of the year from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., except for the Saturday that falls between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Abigail Noel, the marketing coordinator for the Downtown Bryan Association, said the farmers’ market has helped the growing Brazos Valley community over the years by providing locally grown foods and hand-crafted goods.
"All the money goes back into the local economy,” Noel said. “You’re meeting the owners of these companies and really getting to know how they grow or make their products. Farmers’ markets are great. … It’s local people selling local products."
The produce sold at the farmers’ market is seasonal, as farmers can only sell what they produce. No re-sale is allowed, which helps keep a local-niche within the market, said local vendor Christopher Jagge, the vice president of the Brazos Valley Farmers’ Market Association.
“When you come to the farmers’ market, you can meet the person who actually grew your [food],” Jagge said. “You can get that level of quality assurance with the food you’re buying."
In addition to the no-resale rule, the Brazos Valley Farmers’ Market Association does not allow the sale of live animals or raw milk. Locally raised meat sold at the market must have passed federal inspections, and certain foods, such as salsa, must have been produced in a commercial kitchen.
However, Jagge said most of the food sold at the market falls under the Texas Cottage Food Law, which allows foods that are generally considered “safe,” like pickles or cookies, to be produced in the vendor’s home kitchen.
Because the market is seasonal, Jagge, who sells GMO- and soy-free chicken, said locals can see an entirely different selection of products at the market from month-to-month. This helps to build a network within the community between buyer and seller.
"I have customers of mine who come to the market looking for something very special they can’t find [elsewhere] because maybe they have an allergy or a medical condition,” Jagge said. “I get to meet my customers face-to-face and immediately respond to them with what I have to offer. I’m not just a faceless brand in a grocery store."
The Brazos Valley Farmers’ Market Association is always accepting vendor applications, although they do limit the number of vendors per product if necessary in order to ensure local vendors can receive business. To find out more information, the Brazos Valley Farmers’ Market Association encourages interested vendors and buyers to come out any Saturday or visit their website, www.brazosvalleyfarmersmarket.com.