Mansfield – The COVID-19 quarantine couldn’t stop the Mansfield Farmers Market, but it did slow it down a bit.
The market, which sets up in a parking lot on the corner of Walnut Creek Drive and Broad Street on Saturday mornings, was supposed to open April 18, but didn’t open until Saturday, and with fewer vendors and visitors.
By 10 a.m., approximately 200 people had stopped to shop at the 15 vendors, down from pre-COVD-19 days, said market manager Rex Wenger.
“Last year, we had 500 people, but we had 38 vendors,” Wenger said. “Part of it is COVID, part of it is starting two months late.”
The vendors and visitors weren’t complaining. The vendors set up their pop-up canopies and were doing a brisk business, selling fresh eggs, coffee, bread, flavored lemonades, popcorn, produce, flowers, crafts, jellies, barbecue and grass-fed beef.
“They have a diverse group of vendors,” said Rhonda Oertwich of Mansfield. “You see this booth with colors and flowers. All the people are very friendly. I come for the fresh produce, plants and honey.”
LaDonna Scarborough of Alvarado and Wade Presley of Covington were staying busy selling vegetables and flowers on their first time at the market. Presley was selling tomatoes, peppers, onions and sunflowers from his farm.
“I sell at the farmers market on 917 that’s open through the week,” Presley said. “I’ve known about this one for years, I just procrastinated. Our business out there is slow.”
Plants, produce, masks, good feelings on display
Linda Yasek and the Mansfield Garden Club set up a tent to sell plants to raise funds for a college scholarship for a Mansfield high school student.
“There’s usually a lot more members, but just the three of us doing it,” Yasek said. “It’s just not on there radar right now.”
Garden club member Annette Atkinson said business had been good, a lot better than she expected.
“Most of the stuff comes from our own yards,” Yasek said. “So hopefully, it’s very healthy.”
The shoppers were also happy.
“We came to get Mama Jo’s Prickly Pear Cactus Jam,” said Justin Dunn Jr. of Arlington, who was shopping with his girlfriend Rachel Grantham. “Rachel destroys them every time we get them.”
Grantham and Dunn were both wearing masks while they shopped, as were most of the shoppers and vendors.
“We are not worried, just being safe about it and limiting our interaction,” Grantham said.
Sheri Curb of Mansfield was just glad to be able to pick up local produce from the Mansfield Farmers Market.
“I am ecstatic that our vendors were able to get back and sell their produce,” she said. “It’s good for our economy and our spirits. Even with masks, you can feel the smiles.”
The Mansfield Farmers Market is open from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays at 703 E. Broad St. The market will be open every Saturday until Oct. 31.