MIDLOTHIAN — Saturday was like taking a 100-year walk back into history while shopping at the farmers market in Midlothian’s Heritage Park.
Many of the shoppers took advantage of the park’s offerings last Saturday’s event.
Hours before the historic Larkin Newton cabin open for tours, venders selling a variety of goods were setting up, displaying their wares and greeting visitors to the Heritage Park Farmers Market.
Vendors selling fresh home grown produce, local honey, hand-made jewelry and steaks and roasts from local ranchers were among the many offerings at Saturday’s market.
“Where else can you shop for fresh vegetables and other homemade products and finish the morning with a bar-b-que lunch,” said Midlothian resident and business owner Ron Tarr of Noah’s Custom Smoked Meats.
Tarr’s smoker was sending an aroma of smoking woods and slow cooking chicken, sausage, brisket and pork ribs for the shoppers to dine on while visiting the park.
“We have been here since 2011 cooking and selling our meats to the public. This is our advertising venue for our catering business,” Tarr said.
“All the food products we sell out here are homemade. Everything is made from scratch. We want to offer our hometown guests the best in foods possible,” he added.
Veterans of the market (and one of the original vendors) are Janice and Jim Davis.
While Jim was testing watermelons for ripeness, Janice was helping a customer find a ripe cantaloupe. Responding to a customer’s question on how to find the ripest cantaloupe, “I smell it,” Janice said, illustrating the different melons, “A ripe one has a certain smell to it.”
“Our son, Richard, started selling sweet corn out in front of the house when he was younger. We grew our business from that beginning. Now he does all the farmin’ and I just pick the onions,” Jim said.
All the Davis products are from the farm in Venus. Describing their son’s vegetable business, “What he doesn’t grow himself, he buys from other local farmers,” Jim said.
Promptly at nine, Ken Bransome arrived with the key opening the historic Newton Larkin Cabin.
“We open the cabin for tours from 9 to 11 on the first and third Saturdays,” he said.
“When it was originally built in 1848 it did have running water; down by the creek,” Bransome quipped.
Bransome’s tour described many of the artifacts, furniture and features of the historic cabin.
“See that long canoe shaped looking bowl, they would render the fat and turn it into wax candles and other products used in the wilderness home,” Bransome said.
“I was told that the Newton family raised 11 kids in the small home. I guess that’s why when the beds were not being used they were stood up on the wall,” he said.
Bransome is a member of the Midlothian Area Historical Society.
“I’ve always been interested in history. I joined a couple of months ago and they asked me to come out and share the history of the cabin with the community,” Bransome said.
Rancho Poco Loco is a ranch located just a few miles away from the market. Owners Phil and Sue Weaver raise all the cattle where the meats they sell at the farmers market come from.
“We only sell what we raise. All our cattle is grass fed and custom processed without any preservatives,” Phil said.
By mid-morning the Weavers had already sold out of their steaks and roast, but had some of their ground beef left.
“We want to make it as healthy as we can,” he said.
In a nearby booth, Ken Webster of Mac’s Texas Honey promoted his local products.
“It is really hard to get real, unprocessed, natural honey. That is what we provide, honey directly from local hives with no preservatives whatsoever,” Webster said.
Webster’s table top display was filled with jars of all sizes of honey. Other products on display also derived from their honey farm were cakes of beeswax, honey sticks and bars of honey soap.
“Our hives are just out of town and close to a lot of wild flowers and water,” Webster said, explaining they are out of the city and away from farming area where the honey would not be contaminated from pesticides and other chemicals.
“Our local-made honey is sweet, rich and all natural raw honey,” Webster said.
While the tables filled with products were not all food items, Midlothian resident Sabrina McDonald was selling crafts, each one individually handmade. As shoppers were looking over the tables filled with various jewelry items, McDonald was busing making another of her creations.
McDonald’s business, String me Along, is another business that has enjoyed the market since it’s beginning four years ago.
Lisa Sanchez was one of the shoppers visiting the market with her daughter.
“We were walking around and came to see what was here. We are very pleased. This is one of the best community markets I’ve seen,” Sanchez said.
The market opened June 1 and will run through Oct. 12. The hours are 8 a.m. until noon every Saturday.
The market is sponsored by the city of Midlothian, Midlothian Chamber of Commerce, Midlothian Downtown Business Association, and the arks and Recreation Department.