Freshly FriscoJul 01, 2019 ● By Dawn Bluemel Oldfield
Frisco residents can indulge in the season’s freshest ingredients with a trip to a local farmers’ market. Not only can you connect with the community and meet and support the local farmers who grow your food, but you have the benefit of purchasing nutritious, delicious, locally-grown fruits and vegetables. Savor the biodiversity of our region, from tender spring asparagus, sweet strawberries, ripe cantaloupe, watermelons, radishes, heirloom tomatoes, flavorful greens, spicy peppers, luscious blueberries, artisan cheeses, local honey, fresh-baked breads and more. Your taste buds will thank you!
Frisco is fortunate to be home to two farmers’ markets -- the Frisco Rotary Farmers’ Market and the Frisco Fresh Market, each of which provide customers with access to fresh Texas-grown farm and ranch products. These markets are a community hub -- places to meet up with friends, bring your children, learn something new and get a big taste of small-town life in the midst of our wonderful growing city.
Started in 2007, the Frisco Rotary Farmers’ Market (FRFM) is a nonprofit entity and a Frisco tradition that continues to grow in popularity. The market manager, Cindy Johnson, says, “The market was founded by the Frisco Noon Lions Club for the benefit of the Frisco community. Today, the Rotary Club of Frisco continues the farmers’ market tradition of providing fresh, local produce, meat, eggs, olive oil and artisan products. We find growers who offer juicy melons, peaches, vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh corn on the cob and lots more. We have two local ranchers who provide pastured meats and free-range eggs. All of our farmers use organic practices and are non-GMO. We also find the best local purveyors of baked goods, honey, arts and crafts and other artisan products. We even have a knife sharpener once a month at the market so customers can get their knives, scissors and garden tools sharpened while they shop.”
FRFM provides farmers, ranchers and artisan producers the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with customers and cultivate customer loyalty. It provides Frisco residents the opportunity to have access to locally-grown foods. Every week at FRFM, there are 20-25 scheduled vendors, musical entertainment to shop to and fun, family-friendly events. Also, customers are giving back to the community when they shop, as proceeds benefit local Rotary programs such as student scholarships, Rotary Youth Leadership Awakening camp scholarships and local nonprofit grants.
Brandy Miles was the charter president of the Lions Club when they first started the market. She says, “It is important to understand this project is a community service project first and foremost! We provide a simple, easy and friendly venue for vendors and patrons. Farmers’ markets are part of our history as a farming community. This purity in fellowship is a core value for Rotary projects.”
FRFM may have sown the first seed for a market to bring the local food movement to Frisco, but there is also a new kid in town. Can Frisco support and sustain two markets? Ms. Johnson laughs, saying, “For some reason, during the development of the Frisco Fresh Market, rumors swirled that the FRFM was no longer in business. To quote Mark Twain, ‘The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated!’ Anything that promotes local foods and healthy eating is a great thing! As long as competition grows a market, it is a good thing. Come out and shop the old-fashioned way! Know the people who grow your food.”
Located at 8821 4th Street (behind the Frisco Chamber of Commerce, on Main Street), you can visit the FRFM every Saturday through October 26, from 8 a.m. until noon. Check out friscorotaryfarmersmarket.com for special events, entertainment news, kids’ activities and more.
Planted at the corner of Main and Frisco Streets, Frisco Fresh Market (FFM) opened in June 2018 and is a for-profit organization. This unique venue and space is open year-round and features more than 75 vendors each weekend. The growth manager, Jennifer Harper, shares, “We are a unique market and FFM prides itself on our specialty items that include vegan, gluten-free, organic items, as well as farm fresh veggies, herbs, fruits, eggs, meats and homemade gourmet specialties. Our vendors make unique food types like Greek, Cajun, barbecue and European foods. We also have our handcrafted jewelry and decor!”
FFM also features fantastic events like petting zoos, car shows, art festivals, cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, and, of course, the Frisco Fair! Events are focused on families and making a difference in the community. Our Helping Hearts, a charity sandwich-making event hosted by local nine-and-a-half-year-old Yohann Lopez (and his parents Sonia and Dax), saw a few hundred families come out to make more than 3,000 sandwiches to feed the homeless.
Upcoming summer events include a health fair, the FFM Petfest, a Made in Texas event and a Watermelon Festival featuring a watermelon eating contest. Mark your calendars for the ‘Tis the Season to be Merry Holiday Market in December.
Once completed, the 32-acre planned development will encompass approximately 70,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor farmers’ market space, a uniquely-styled beer garden, a demonstration kitchen, private event spaces and more. Ms. Harper says, “FFM is unique. We currently have two outdoor covered buildings that house up to 92 vendors. We are finishing out our indoor building in the next few months, which will house food vendors. We have also been mentioned as having the best bathrooms in any local farmers’ market!”
FFM gives families and restaurants alike the gift of shopping fresh and local. They even provide a variety of fantastic healthy alternatives to traditional homemade goodies that can be hard to find. Additionally, FFM works closely with local charities giving them the ability to reach out to patrons by offering a free booth once every six months to local nonprofit charities in the area.
Frisco Fresh Market is located at 9215 John W. Elliot Drive, across from Toyota Stadium. Due to the heat, summer hours are Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit friscofreshmarket.com to learn about vendors, special events and more.
Fill your pantry (and plate) with all things fresh and local! A weekly trip to a farmers’ market is one of the best ways to connect with farmers and food artisans … not to mention Frisco neighbors and friends. It also offers a great opportunity to learn about how and where your food is produced and how to improve the quality of the food you are eating. A novice chef? No worries! The vendors at the farmers’ market are often passionate cooks who are happy to offer advice about how to prepare foods they grow and sell. Just ask! They may even share a recipe or two.