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Monday, Nov. 23, 2015

Holiday Market

Bossier Event Rounds Out First Year with large amount of vendors

Market

Bossier event rounds out first year with large amount of vendors

Bossier City’s farmers market is hoping to close its inaugural year out with a holiday bang.

Located on the grounds of the Pierre- Bossier Mall, the market, which attracts farmers and craftspeople from throughout the region, is growing its number of vendors to catch holiday shoppers as they come in and out of the mall.

“We’ve had some rain so you can expect these vendors to be hungry. I know I will be,” Chris Graham, co-owner of Bossier’s Farmer Market LLC, said.

Graham is also one of the market’s vendors, manning the Man Made Soap booth. Graham’s offerings include a poison ivy soap, a cotton candy-scented soap and a cedar soap saver.

Graham and Jacob Guerra opened the market Aug. 1.

“It hasn’t been easy, but it hasn’t been as hard as it should’ve been,” Graham said about his and Guerra’s work to get everything up and running.

The Bossier City Farmers Market will run through Dec. 19, making it the longest running market in the region. Those extra couple of weeks are what Graham hopes will make up for a few rained-out weekends.

“Cold is OK. Rain is not,” Graham said.

But, despite the recent wet weekends, the farmers market is doing pretty well, according to two vendors who have been there since the first Saturday: Crawford Farms and Bearberry Farms.

“I think it’s pretty good. This is the time of year that it starts to slow down. When it first started, we saw some huge crowds,” said Steven Crawford, owner of Crawford Farms, located in Timpson, Texas.

Crawford is a farmer with more than 38 years of experience.

“The only places I market my crops are the farmers markets in the Ark-La-Tex,” he said.

“This is better for the customer and the farmer. Customers get better quality and freshness.”

Crawford added local markets benefit farmers because there is nothing in-between the customer and farmer.

Mike and JoAnn Bearden run Bearberry Farm, located in Benton.

“We’ve been here every Saturday but the rainy days. This seems like the best venue we’ve tried so far,” Mike Bearden said. “We are beginning to see a few repeat customers.”

Bearberry Farms specializes in jellies: mayhaw, blackberry and blueberry. But Mike is beginning to branch out into wooden crafts, like bowls and Christmas decorations.

Besides the wares being peddled, Mike placed parking high on the list of things the farmers market got right. Because the market is located on the grounds of the Pierre-Bossier Mall, the walk from-and-to the vendors is fairly short and easy, even with an arm full of goods.

Rene Wilhite sees the short walk as a huge benefit. Wilhite was shopping the Bossier City Farmers Market with her friend Becky Evans on a not-so chilly Saturday morning in November.

Both women drove over from Stonewall. And both women had their arms full of bags.

It was Wilhite’s fourth time at the market. Evans was making her first trip.

Both Wilhite and Evans appreciated the local nature of the market.

“This is all homemade stuff,” Evans said.

“These men and women put in a lot of work and effort. They take pride in their work.”

That pride is not lost on Graham.

“Those people shake your hand. We talk about family. It’s a really close group of people,” Graham said.

He added: “I’ve heard nothing but good things from the inside as well as the outside.

The vendors and customer just seem happy.”

One thing that makes Graham happy is watching the success of his fellow vendors, including himself.

“Everyone who is out there has grown,” Graham said.

This includes a few vendors, like Graham’s Man Made Soap, landing their wares on local retailers’ shelves. “They found me at the local market,” Graham said.

It’s a similar discovery many more people can make before the market shuts down in the middle of December. Graham is optimistic for the “Christmas rush.” “We’re expecting a huge, huge crowd,” he said. “Vendors are coming up with different gift ideas, including homemade, pre-packaged items.”

–RT Morgan

More information:

For more information on the Bossier City Farmers Market, go to www. bossiercityfarmersmarket.com.

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