It's time for fresh, homegrown flavor

Published on Wednesday, 28 May 2014 00:47 - Written by Christine Gardner, food@tylerpaper.com

We’ve had lots of rain during the past few days and you know what that means — a major growth spurt in area vegetable gardens. Combine that with some of the cooler nights we’ve been experiencing and plenty of flowers are setting that will soon become tomatoes, zucchini and other vegetables.

It’s an amazing sight to watch a garden grow from tiny little seeds in a packet to an edible harvest of fruits, vegetables and herbs.

This year, I was fortunate enough to have someone build some raised beds for me, and he was also nice enough to fill it with very rich compost. I bought seeds from the seed companies I wrote about earlier this spring — Renee’s Garden and rareseeds.com.

I haven’t grown vegetables from seed since the summer after third grade when my Dad and I planted tomatoes, watermelon, cucumber and, of course, yellow squash.

I didn’t like squash back then and still don’t when he cooks it the way he likes it, so, the squash in the garden was not as memorable for me as the watermelon.

I was curious why the watermelons from the garden didn’t look like the ones in the grocery store. They were so much smaller, but I remember, much more tasty.

I would fill my little red wagon and go around the neighborhood selling vegetables for a nickel. It was a thriving enterprise. I saved up my nickels so that I could go to the movies with my friends. That was a good summer for movies, too.

When you plant those tiny seeds it’s hard to imagine they will amount to anything, but so far they have yielded a whole lot of lettuce, a ton of mint, and many other things that are starting to grow all over the place, but aren’t producing vegetables yet.

After all this rain, and a few more cool nights, I am hoping to pick my first tomatoes by next week. That’s the day I wait for all year.

Later on, the cantaloupe, peppers, zucchini, squash and cucumbers should be abundant. It’s all been a great learning experience that will continue throughout the summer.

If you aren’t growing your own vegetables, there are plenty of places where you can partake in another’s grand harvest. There are more farmers markets and fresh produce stands in the Tyler area than ever before.

I am working on accumulating a list that will be in FLAVOR every week. Here is what I know so far. If you have something to add, please emailfood@tylerpaper.com so it can be added to the list.

n Rose City Farmers Market

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through November.

Tuesday and Saturday : 7212 Old Jacksonville Hwy at Jul’s, Tyler

Thursday: 723 N. Broadway at Salvation Army, Tyler

www.foodcoalition.org

n Tyler Farmers Market

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

4850 Old Bullard Road at Broadway Square Mall, Tyler

www.tylerfarmersmarket.org

n East Texas State Fair Market

Tuesdays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. through July 26

2112 W. Front Street at East Texas Fairgrounds, Tyler

www.easttexasstatefairfarmersmarket.com

n Lindale Farmers Market

Tuesdays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

120 E. North Street at Blackberry Square

For more information call 903-780-7969

n Beth’s Little Farm Market

Tuesdays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tuesday: 13268 Hwy 110 North at Mount Sylvan Executive Suites, Tyler

Saturday: 109 W. Hubbard, Lindale at Lindale Community Theater and The Fatt Apple, Lindale

www.bethslittlefarmmarket.com

n Farmers Market at Sadlers Kitchen

Thursdays after 5 p.m.

101 S. Bonner, Jacksonville

Guinn’s Produce

Now Open

1603 S. Jackson, Jacksonville

Call for Hours: 903-586-0651

n Ripe Fruit & Vegetable Store

Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sunday from Noon to 3 p.m.

12239 Hwy 64 West, Tyler

Call for information: 903-262-4582