Weybap Farm: Interview with a Farmer’s Market Vendor
This week, get to know the folks at Weybap Farm. Every week, they are at Farmer’s Market, tempting the people who come out to find the freshest veggies, fruits, and more!
InParisTexas: Tell us a little bit about your products.
Weybap Farm: Bruce and I started Weybap Farm in 2011. We are a small market garden, and we grow many different types of fruits and vegetables using sustainable and organic methods. We tend to have something different almost every month during farmer’s market season, but don’t expect to have winter crops, such as broccoli and snow peas, down at the market in July and August. We grow according to the season, which means no cool weather crops in the middle of summer. We do grow the standard vegetables like green beans, tomatoes, okra and squash, but we really enjoy the challenge of growing produce that is not readily available in this area of Texas, such as Bok Choi, Dow Gok (long beans), Napa Cabbage, Leeks, Burgundy Okra, Armenian cucumbers, Parisian carrots and orange flesh watermelons. We don’t use any chemical pesticides or fertilizers. We make our own compost from materials on the farm, so we know, for a fact, that there are no chemicals or dangerous additives making their way into our soil. We make our own compost tea with manure from our horses and chickens mixed with fish emulsion, which we use to fertilize most of our plants. Cover crops are planted each fall, and winter helps build the soil for spring planting. Row covers and Guinea hens are used to combat squash bugs and grasshoppers.
InParisTexas: How long have you been producing? How did you get started?
Weybap Farm: We have been growing produce in Texas since 2005. We’ve always had a garden, and three years ago, we realized that we were saving hundreds of dollars by growing our own vegetables and fruits. Last year we decided we wanted to explore the need for fresh, local produce and to share some of our products with the community. We joined the Farmer’s Market and sold our produce at Market Square each Saturday. We were amazed at the positive response we had from customers who bought our produce and came back each week for more. Last year, we were the only vendor at the market selling our own locally grown produce. We knew from talking with our customers that there was a real need for more local products at the market. During the off-season, we worked with the other vendors and the Farmer’s Market Committee to recruit more produce vendors for the Market. It is gratifying to see so many of the stalls at the Market occupied by local growers this year.
I grew up in California, my grandparents were farmers, and my parents always had a garden somewhere on our property. I can remember being six years old and helping my grandmother shell peas, shuck corn and make catsup from tomatoes. Bruce has lived all over the world and when I met him, he didn’t know much about growing vegetables, but now after twelve years together, he knows almost as much about growing food as I do.
We lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the weather is perfect for growing almost anything you can think of. When we moved here in 2005, it was quite a challenge to adapt to the climate of North East Texas. It took me a couple of years to realize that we actually have several short growing seasons, as opposed to one long season. Now after seven seasons, you can find something growing here at the farm every month of the year. Even in February, we manage to coax lettuce, collards, and kale to grow for us.
InParisTexas: Are your products available for purchase outside of the Farmer’s Market, and how often are you at the Farmer’s Market?
Weybap Farm: We are at the Market every Saturday from 8 am until noon the entire season. We are also there each Tuesday from 10 am to 1 pm. The Tuesday market is new this year, and although there are fewer vendors there on Tuesday, we feel that it is important providing an additional day to shop at the market. Not everyone can get out to Market Square on a Saturday morning.
During market season, we typically sell out of all our produce, so there isn’t an opportunity to sell outside of the market. This fall and winter, we will be experimenting with selling a limited amount of produce to determine whether creating a winter CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is feasible.
InParisTexas: Why do you think eating local foods is important?
Weybap Farm: Eating locally grown foods and buying locally made products are extremely important for several reasons. We are all becoming more aware of the dangers inherent in our current food systems. Buying from a local farmer is the best and easiest way to assure your food safety, plus the food just tastes better and lasts longer. Local food means local economy. It means food security. Buying locally means less packaging ends up in the landfills. It means reduced fuel costs, a lower carbon footprint and fewer chemicals and additives in your food. Buying locally, keeping your food dollars in your community, encourages growers to expand the varieties available for sale to you, giving you more food choices and better nutrition. It is an ever expanding circle, like a pebble thrown into a pond. The ripples continue to expand, bringing in even more local producers with even better product choices. Getting dollars to stay in our community helps us become a sustainable society.
InParisTexas: Have a favorite recipe you would like to share?
Weybap Farm: We have so many favorite recipes; it is hard to choose just one. We tend to eat seasonally, though, and right now we have tomatoes and cucumbers in abundance. This is a recipe provided by Bruce’s mom, and it tastes just wonderful on a hot summer evening.
- 3 to 5 tomatoes(depending on size) quartered
- 1 medium onion, sliced into rings (Thin slices)
- ¾ cup white vinegar
- 2-tbspn sugar (Optional)
- ¼-cup water
- 1-tbspn mustard seed
- ¼-tspn cayenne pepper
- 1 large cucumber, sliced
- Mix tomatoes and onion and set aside.
- Mix the vinegar, sugar, water, mustard seed and cayenne in a small pan and boil for approx 2 minutes.
- Let cool for a few minutes the pour over tomatoes and onion; gently stir to coat then refrigerate for at least two hours.
- Add cucumber; toss to coat and cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Enjoy the following night!