The Southtown Farmers and Ranchers Market opened Saturday morning as a few drops of rain fell here and there across the parking lot of the Blue Star Arts Complex.
The threat of another downpour wasn't enough, however, to hold people back from showing up early to check out the fresh produce that area farmers had brought with them and the other treats, including naturally raised chicken, cold-pressed juices, paletas and even doggy treats for the many canine visitors who were sniffing out areas of their own.
Among the fresh fruits and vegetables were red, gold and candy striped beets, various types of squash and zucchini, cucumbers, onions, green beans, brussels sprouts and carrots. Red and yellow tomatoes ripe off the vine, fragrant cantaloupes and non-GMO corn all drew customer attention.
Several farmers also brought flowers, including sunflowers, both the traditional sun-kissed yellow and a deep burgundy variety named Moulin Rouge. Another vendor had plenty of herbs, vegetable plants and flowers in case you wanted to start growing some of your own cucumbers and squashes.
For those who want their food already prepared, Cheeks and Chops food truck offered Spanish-influenced treats including paella and a tortilla española as well as a pork belly sandwich. Mom and Pops, all-natural frozen pops, offer colorful paletas in a variety of flavors, from the pale off-white coconut to the deep pink of watermelon agave and on to the dusty brown of Abuelo's Chocolate with a touch of cinnamon.
In all, there were more than 15 vendors for the first Saturday, and organizer Heather Hunter says she expects more next week, as the Southtown Farmers and Ranchers Market takes root and grows.
The Southtown Farmers and Ranchers Market at the Blue Star Arts Complex, 116 Blue Star, is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.