Farmers’ Market open for season

Buddy Jorde sorts through a basket of potatoes Tuesday afternoon. Jorde’s family farms approximately 600 acres and brings produce to sell at the Clovis Farmers’ Market. (Staff photo: Sharna Johnson)

By Leslie Radford: CNJ Staff writer

Dennis Shaw dusts fresh dirt off one of the red onions he picked just before he came to set up at the Farmers’ Market on Tuesday afternoon. He said his onion crop isn’t as good as last year’s — they’re a little small, but they taste just the same.

Shaw is among the half dozen vendors who tolerated the heat pounding off the pavement at the north parking lot at the North Plains Mall to push their goods.

“I picked just about everything just before I loaded up to come out here,” said Shaw, a local dryland wheat farmer who grows vegetables on the side. “My father teases me I need to bring more because I always sell out before the day is over.”

Shaw said he has come to market the past three years with fresh produce from his farm in Ranchvale that also includes garlic, green beans and corn, depending on the season.

The Market opened June 21 with four vendors selling mostly vegetables, according to Susan Allen, market director. She said the produce available at the Market ranges from cucumbers to tomatoes to all types of melons.

New to the Market this year are fresh eggs and beef.

Andy Unruh raises black angus cattle on a ranch in Fort Sumner. He said he and his family have been selling meat at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market for the last five weeks. This was their first time in Clovis.

“We’re going to set up a grill here to give out samples and maybe get some onions and things from the other vendors,” Unruh said. “That’s what we do in Santa Fe and it usually helps us make a sale. People smell it cooking and come and talk to us.”

Peggy Lynch of Clovis enjoys the fresh produce that “you just can’t buy in the store.”

“I buy cucumbers and black-eyed peas when they have them,” she said. “I like to can them and save them for winter.”

Buddy Jorde, 16, has sold potatoes and onions for the last four years. His family owns a potato farm south of Clovis. They’ll begin potato harvest in about two weeks, he said.

“The potatoes are a little small right now, but they’ll get bigger,” he said. “We really sell a lot of the russets. People like to use them for baked potatoes.”

Even gardeners such as Melissa Young sell leftover produce she and her family just can’t eat before it spoils. During the fall, she brings pumpkins.

“We come out when we have excess in our garden,” she said. “It may be zucchini this week and next week we won’t have anything. At the end of July, we’ll have more than enough things to bring out here.”

Until then, Allen said she expects the Market to gradually grow each week with new vendors bringing in home-grown fruits and vegetables. The market is usually open until mid-October.

• Where: North Plains Mall parking lot
• Tuesdays: 4 p.m.-sell out; Saturdays: 8 a.m.-sell out
• Market season: mid-June through October
• Contact: Susan Allen at the Extension office, 763-6505