LAFAYETTE — Two-year-old Wyatt Cooper proudly pointed to an ear of corn and identified the vegetable for his mother and father, who were shopping at the Hub City Farmers’ Market.
“He just enjoys learning all the vegetables, getting up close and pointing them out,” Denise Cooper said of her son. “We wanted to just take a look and see what it was all about today, and we would definitely come back.”
Denise took Wyatt to the market with her husband, Brandon, and like many shoppers who come to the Oil Center for fresh produce, the Coopers bought corn for dinner that night, tomatoes as a gift for a family member and kettle corn, some of which Wyatt enjoyed as a snack.
The Hub City Farmers’ Market, held every Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon at 427 Heymann Blvd., offers Lafayette shoppers and cooks an opportunity to not only buy fresh foods, but also a chance to interact with the farmers who grow the fruits and vegetables.
On the second Saturday of every month, the Open Air Market featuring antiques, arts and collectibles, opens alongside the farmers’ market.
“We had a good crowd this morning, and they’re still coming through,” said Charles Thompson, who sells local, organically grown produce with his partner, Karen Deshazo, as part of their business, Market Basket Youngsville. “Our shoppers get a chance to ask questions, and they enjoy that interaction as much as we do,” he said.
Thompson and Deshazo sold several seasonal crops during Saturday’s market, including red tomatoes, purple eggplant and yellow summer squash that one shopper said was “way too pretty to cut up.” The plant is pollinated by bees, Deshazo said.
One customer bought eight ears of corn from Thompson and Deshazo for $8. Thompson admitted the price is a bit steeper than the $3 for six ears of corn supermarket shoppers may pay, but he said his customers are willing to pay more for the quality.
Thompson said he’s come to the Hub City Farmers’ Market every weekend for about two years. In February 2011, the merchants incorporated in the market and beefed up rules requiring sellers to have certified scales and insurance, he said.
Thompson also sells his produce from his home, where customers call before coming to buy his fresh food during informal business hours. He said he earns about 60 percent of his monthly income during the four Saturdays each month that he works the farmers’ market. The other 40 percent comes from his home sales.
Ingredients to be included in home-cooked meals, however, aren’t all shoppers may buy at the Hub City Farmers’ Market. Emilia Garcia, another merchant, sells homemade tamales as part of her business, Tamales Emilia.
Garcia, who lives in Scott, learned to make tamales while working at a restaurant in California years ago, and she’s sold her pork, chicken, cheese and ground beef tamales at the farmers’ market every Saturday for the past two years.
For $2 each or $18 per dozen, shoppers can snack on Garcia’s tamales.
She spends about four hours making the nearly 300 tamales she sells during an average Saturday at the market.
On Sundays, she sells her tamales at another market, assisted by her 15-year-old son, Manuel Garcia. “She likes this market the most, because more people come here,” he said.