Mark one down in the win column for Kari Gates of Plano. Actually, mark one down for all of Plano. Regardless of who gets the win, Gates is proof that sometimes determined persistence does payoff. And because of that, Plano will soon have its very own farmers market. Under new city regulations, The Collin County Farmers Market, a community nonprofit corporation, will set up shot at Fairview Farms and will open for business on Saturday, April 20 at 8 a.m.
A Plano native, Gates runs Spring Creek Organic Farms, but has had to travel to other cities to sell her loot. The city of Plano had very restrictive code regarding what could and couldn't be sold, with more emphasis on the latter, at farmers' markets. It essentially meant there were no markets. But, after a year of prodding from Gates and friends, Plano has made things much easier, and now Gates will be able to sell vegetables and a bevy of other goods locally.
"We're proud to be able to offer Collin County's largest population center easy access to farm-raised produce, meats and other locally made artisanal food products," said Gates, who serves as the CCFM chairman and market organizer. "We've worked diligently with the local health department and with Rodney Haggard, the owner of Fairview Farms, for the past year to develop a plan that would allow the market to operate while protecting the health of our customers."
Opening day will showcase more than 40 local vendors, including Truth Hill Farms, McLemore Ranch Beef, AP Apiaries, Firewheel Coffee Roasters, Village Baking Co., Best Bug Bait, Secret Soap Stash and Texas Olive Oil Company.
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The market will focus on Texas-grown produce, products and meats and include a community center for various workshops on healthy living. There are also plans for a community garden maintained by local Scout troops whose produce will be donated to local food shelters.
"We're also looking for sponsorships from corporate partners and local businesses to help make this endeavor successful," Gates said.
Market days will offers family-oriented events like pony rides, face-painting and bounce houses, plus live music. The market is located on the northeast corner of Central Expressway and Parker Road behind Dukes Roadhouse Restaurant.
The market will run 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, April 20 through October.