As a Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market vendor for over two years through our small business, Waco Cha, we have seen the ins and outs of our local farmer’s market and would love to share insights that you may not know! The farmer’s market is one of the best ways on weekends to get to know new local farmer’s, food pop-ups, and handcraft artisans. And in addition to fresh produce and delicious food, many find Saturday mornings at the market to be a tradition to spend time with their family and friends!
Here are 8 insights and insider tips about the Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market:
1.) The Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market (WDFM) is a non-profit organization – Overseen by a board, the Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market is a local non-profit organization that began in 2011 after the collaborative visioning and planning of local vendors, organizations, and the city. The market’s mission is to support locally grown and produced goods in order to support local farmers and artisans as well as to enrich the culture of our community.
2.) The WDFM accepts both SNAP and WIC benefits – Visit the Market Booth on Saturdays and swipe your Lonestar card to receive market tokens to use throughout market on SNAP eligible items. The WDFM provides “Double-Up Food Bucks” – where they will match every $1 you spend (up to $30) so you can buy more fruits and vegetables each Saturday. Double Up Food Bucks can be used for: fresh produce, meat, eggs, and dairy products. Families eligible for WIC may bring their WIC shopping list to receive $30 (per eligible family member) in WIC vouchers to be used throughout market. More details about WDFM SNAP and WIC benefits here.
3.) The WDFM hosts a Handmade Craft Market event within the WDFM usually on the 3rd Saturdays of each month – On the third Saturday of each month, the Handmade Craft Market is within the WDFM. In conjunction with the WDFM, you will find more vendors on these Saturdays with local artisans selling art and goods including soap, framed art, handmade jewelry, woodwork, and more! Follow the WDFM on Instagram and/or Facebook to stay tuned on the Handmade Craft Market days and vendor participants!
4.) Shop small and support local businesses through the WDFM – All the vendors at the WDFM are local farmers and small businesses within Waco and throughout Central Texas. Local is defined as existing within 150 miles of Waco. Many local restaurants and cafes in Waco, including Cheddar Box, Harvest on 25th, Dichotomy, and Waco Cha began at the Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market as pop-up concepts. With the community’s support, these pop-up concepts were then able to go on to become food trucks and/or storefront locations in our city! Through the WDFM, local food trucks, farmers, and artisans have the opportunity to showcase their goods to our community. And in return, you can shop small and support local!
5.) The WDFM is open year-round (with shorter hours during the summertime) – Many are surprised to hear that the WDFM is open year-round! Generally speaking, the WDFM is open even on rainy days – unless there are severe weather concerns (ex. flooding & thunderstorms). In the event of severe weather closings, you can follow the WDFM social media pages and/or newsletter to stay tuned! In addition, due to the summer heat, July and August have modified WDFM hours from 9am-noon as opposed to regular WDFM hours from 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
6.) Vendors oftentimes set up at 7:30am-8am (or even earlier!) however the market does not begin until 9am – If you’ve ever driven by 500 Washington Ave (across the downtown Waco courthouse) on Saturday mornings, you may have seen WDFM vendors setting up their pop-up tents as early as 7:30am-8am. While vendors spend this time setting up their booths, the official market does not begin until 9am! Keep this in mind as you plan your Saturday visit!
7.) If you forget to bring cash, you can swipe your cards at the Market Booth – Some vendors at the WDFM accept cash only. So we recommend you bring some cash! If you forget cash, you can swipe your cards at the Market Booth. The Market Booth acts as an ATM and is the place to swipe your credit/debit/EBT cards in exchange for wooden tokens that can be spent at the vendors’ booths. If bringing cash, we recommend you bring small change (20’s and smaller), since many small business vendors may not be able to provide change for your large bills.
8.) YES, the market has remained open throughout the pandemic – WDFM has continued to remain open and active throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with various COVID-19 precautions in place. All participants and vendors need to wear masks and/or face coverings (ex. bandana, scarves, cloth masks, etc.) and to take physical distancing precautions, when possible. The market provides both handwashing & hand sanitizer stations on-site. Read more about the WDFM COVID-19 modified market details here. Mask up and we hope to see you soon on a Saturday morning in the near future!