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Homegrown, homemade focus of Farmers’ Market

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Jesus Cisneros of Mr. John’s Farms in Midway helps some customers who are selecting produce. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

With summer well upon area residents, an annual tradition has returned to Roswell.

Felix Galanti of Jazz with Chazz, who recently moved here from Silver City, performs during the Farmers’ Market Saturday morning. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

The Farmers’ Market opened Saturday morning in front of the Chaves County Courthouse in downtown Roswell and is scheduled for each Saturday, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., through Oct. 6.

Yes, there are fruit, chiles, pecans, squash, corn, garlic, flowers, plants, eggs, grass-fed beef, fresh burritos and homemade breads, cookies, marmalades and jellies.

But there are also plenty of artisans and crafts makers as well as a couple of music performers and some nonprofit booths, including a children’s activity table organized by the Youth and Professionals for the Art Collective and a booth of the New Mexico Department of Health Women, Infants and Children Program, which gives away samples of produce and provides checks to program participants to buy fresh fruit and produce.

According to local seller Luther Pareo, the Farmers’ Market has been occurring at least 20 years because that is how long he has been showing up with his jellies, chiles, garlic, grapes and pecans.

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“I was born doing this,” said Pareo, who has a garden at his home in Roswell. “I have been running little fruit stands since I was in junior high school.”

About 40 vendors have signed up this year so far, said Peggy Seskey, a MainStreet Roswell board member and manager of the Farmers’ Market. But she said more can set up booths in the coming weeks.

Seskey said that vendors pay $40 for the entire season or $5 for a week, which offsets MainStreet’s promotional and advertising costs.

Local professional artist DelMarq (note to editor: one word, no spaces) said this is his first year participating and appreciates having an affordable place to show the paintings and artworks that he makes from reused materials such as saw blades, ceiling fans and kitchen cabinets. He said he already had received some commissions for future work and invitations to other events as well as to a juried show.

A person attending the market for the first time said he was disappointed that mostly crafts and artisans were there, saying he could find those items at other events. By early Saturday morning, there were about 14 arts and crafts booths compared to nine food, produce and flower and plant sellers.

But DelMarq said other venues charge a lot more money for booths. According to Seskey, the Farmers’ Market is different than some other offerings because it asks that all items be handmade.

“We are trying to keep with the tradition of the farmers,” she said. “A lot of the times, when it is night and farmers can’t tend to their crops or livestock, they make crafts and create their artwork.”

The wares offered included woven baskets, wooden toys and furniture, crocheted clothing, metal sculptures, wood signs, engraved wood carvings, painted scarves, soaps and creams, hair ribbons, magnets and decorated flower pots.

Produce and food vendors included Jones Family Eggs, RNR Livestock (which sells grass-fed beef), Hector’s Burritos and Maria’s Sweet Breads, Mr. John’s Farms, Graves Farms and four home growers.

According to the New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association, Roswell is one of four cities in the southeastern part of the state to have Farmers’ Markets. The others are in Hobbs, Carlsbad and Alamogordo. There are 58 registered Farmers’ Markets statewide.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.