The Collin County Farmers Market Is Getting Screwed by the Shutdown, but Trudges On

It took years for Kari Gates to get a farmers market in Plano. After attending more council meetings than any farmer should have to deal with, the Plano native, who owns Spring Creek Organic Farms, finally got the all clear to open the Collin County Farmers Market at 3314 N. Central Expressway in March.

But now Gates has another potential headache to deal with and, yes, it actually has to do with Shutstorm 2013. Back in March, Gates applied for 501(c)3 status for the farm stand, but since the IRS is the IRS, it's taken a really long time to get the final paperwork. And now that many at the IRS are furloughed, well, who knows when anything will happen.

Gates has also applied for a grant through the USDA's "Know Your Food, Know Your Framer" program. Gates said the funds would help with community outreach, allow for some classes and new equipment. She also wants to create a zero-waste market. That specific grant is tied to the Farm Bill, which never got passed. According to the website, "Due to the lapse in federal government funding, this website is not available."

"We are not municipally supported so it's up to us to come up with the funds to continue and no company is going to donate without the non-profit status," explains Gates. "We hoped by the time the grant came through, if it did at all, we'd have the non-profit issued worked out."

Maybe not so much. It's all in limbo now. However, for farm fresh goods and locally sourced food, the story must go on.

This Saturday from 9 to 11:30 a.m. the market is having a locally sourced breakfast with handmade blue corn tortillas from Tejas Farms, Farm Kids Fresh Eggs, Truth Hill sausage, Mana's Spices salsa and Earth on Tap green juice. And Coffee Del Rey too.

On October 19, Collin County Farmers Market will host an Oktoberfest celebration from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with live music from Kyle Brooks and the Beards, with local brew from FireWheel and a lunch made with local products.

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