Fresh & Faithful: Farmers market aims to fill stomach with food, the good word

Published on Friday, 25 July 2014 23:47 - Written by Rebecca Hoeffner rhoeffner@tylerpaper.com

Farmer’s markets are not uncommon in the area, but a new Rusk market is based on Christian principles. Faithful Farmer’s Market is now open for business from sunup to sundown Monday through Saturday, with a barter and trade day on Sunday afternoons.

“We are based on four things: faith, family, food and fellowship,” said Cheryl Battles, co-founder with her husband, Terrance Battles.

“Faithful Farmers Market honors God by promoting healthy eating, wholesome lifestyles and traditional values,” Battles said.

Faithful Farmers Market is also certified by the Texas Department of Agriculture. Certification means the farmers market bylaws require that 75 percent of all agricultural products sold through the farmers market are grown in Texas. Additionally, the bylaws require at least two or more of the market’s members are farmers selling their own produce and all agricultural products sold at the market are of merchantable quality.

Once these criteria are met a copy of the bylaws, a current list of board officers and vendor members must be submitted with the completed application and fee to the Texas Department of Agriculture. Finally, the market and vendors agree to comply with local municipal, county and state health and safety regulations, and the rules and requirements of the Texas Department of Agriculture.

The market is now actively recruiting local growers and merchants. Faithful The Battles hope to feature produce, cottage foods, arts and crafts, food vendors, plants, bartering as well as hosts special events.

One of the contributing farmers is David Ruby. Ruby started commercially gardening on his home property (which has been in his family since 1902) about two and a half years ago, he said. It’s something he enjoys since retiring from the IT industry.

“I’ve liked to garden all my life,” he said. “I decided to expand.”

Ruby uses well water and an irrigation system used in Israel, which he said makes a difference in the taste of the produce. His wife, Diane, cans vegetables, like her mother did, she said.

Faithful Farmers Market is located at the corner of West Sixth (U.S. Highway 84 E) and Barron streets in Rusk.

Merchants may obtain a copy of the bylaws and a registration form in person, USPS, email or fax. Contact Battles for more information and grand opening details at (903) 284-4133, (903) 312-5914 or email faithfulfarmersmarket@gmail.com, on facebook Faithful Farmers Market and on Twitter @FaithfulFarmers.

Contact the market for location availability for 2014 holiday celebrations, old time revivals, block parties or fundraisers, and “all things family,” Battles said. They also plan to host free educational classes.

“The Bible says to take care of your fellow man,” Battles said. “Everybody has a place in that. This is my place.