One of my favorite places to be on Saturday morning is the Waco Downtown Farmers Market. I can grab a coffee, breakfast tacos, and fresh produce in one location! And do you know how fortunate we are to have a farmer’s market that runs year-round?
It’s also the place to find some of the best local and seasonal produce. Here are a few of my top picks of farmers growing must-have produce!
Monika Eckert of Bonnet Farms
You will typically find a long line at Monika’s booth. But when you’ve had her produce, you’ll understand why. Her interest in farming began when she was in high school. Eckert worked on a farm during the summers to earn extra money. After she married in 2011, she and her husband moved closer to his grandparents in Walburg, TX. Country living reignited the spark to grow things. “We started with just a hobby garden and grew it from there. It became serious in 2014 when the hobby turned into a full-time job.”
While Georgetown isn’t necessarily local, this will be Eckert’s fourth year attending the Waco Downtown Farmers Market. She believes it’s a great place to find many local, handmade, and homegrown goodies. And her farming practices are simple and organic. Her goal is always to attend-round, but some months of the year Mother Nature has other plans. “I always tell my customers, ‘if a bug doesn’t want to eat it, why would you?’ Vegetables should have a little dirt and a few bug bites.” They are currently growing tomatoes, spring mix, carrots, spinach, beets, turnips, arugula, cabbage, and kohlrabi. As the year continues, she will have many more veggies, including melons, onions, okra, squash, zucchini, and even veggie starts in March.
The World Hunger Relief Farm
Established in Waco in 1979, World Hunger Relief, Inc., “the Farm,” is a Christian organization on a 40-acre property whose mission is to alleviate food insecurity and malnutrition through sustainable agriculture education and community development, both domestically and abroad. They also have a long history of collaboration with local schools, churches, non-profits, and international partner-organizations in Haiti, El Salvador, and Liberia.
More recently, World Hunger Relief has increasingly engaged in these issues right here in Waco. In 2018, they began a collaboration with a local, non-profit healthcare provider, the Family Health Center, to provide fresh, local, and sustainably grown produce to those with the greatest need in our community.
Portions of land are dedicated to various enterprises, including livestock housing and pasture, vegetable production, farm community housing, administrative spaces, and educational spaces. World Hunger Relief also cultivates nearly two acres of high-density vegetable production throughout the entire year. The produce grown goes to multiple places—most delivered through the Veggie Prescription Program to members of our community through a grant-supported partnership with the Family Health Center, while the rest is sold through C.S.A shares (Community Supported Agriculture), or sold at their Farm Stand and the Waco Downtown Farmers Market. Not only do they grow beautiful and delicious local produce, but they’re also helping to eliminate food insecurity within our own community. For more information about the farm and its mission, you can find them on Facebook, Instagram (@world_hunger_relief), and online http://www.worldhungerrelief.org/
Liz and Shane Caraway of Pippa Hill Farms
Pippa Hill Farms is in the small community of Oglesby, TX. (somewhat near Waco) You could say decorative pumpkins started Pippa Hill Farms. Liz Caraway loved decorating with ornamental pumpkins so much that her husband, Shane, told her it would probably be less expensive to grow their own. That was about five years ago. And the Caraways grow some of the most gorgeous pumpkins I’ve ever seen! Their pumpkins have been a highly coveted item at the Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market since 2019. They’ve also expanded by growing other produce. This is only fitting since Shane grew up on a 200-acre farm growing tomatoes, melons, and squash.
In addition to selling their ornamental pumpkins and fresh produce at the farmer’s market, they offer weekly veggie boxes for delivery or pickup and vegetable transplants for your home garden! You can find out more about Pippa Hill Farms on Facebook, Instagram (@pippahillfarms), and online at https://pippahillfarms.com/about/
These are just a few of the hard-working and dedicated farmers sharing their incredible, local produce at our farmer’s market. I encourage you to support them and always support local, when possible!