It’s a farmers market with no strings attached — and it’s been place as long as anyone can remember.
The Glen Rose Farmers Market, on the downtown square, was likely first organized in the early days of Somervell County, City Council member Dennis Moore said.
When the Glen Rose Farmers Market got its start, it was a common idea in many counties to have a central location for farmers to bring their produce to sell their produce.
“Everybody gathered on Saturdays. The farmers market predates the city,” Moore explained of the early days of farmers markets. “I’m sure that was everywhere. I guess others outgrew it. We’re pretty unique that we have places on the square.”
Many counties in the area either no longer have farmers markets, or have restrictions that made vendors prefer traveling to Glen Rose instead of staying nearer home.
The Glen Rose Farmers Market, which is anchored on the south side of the courthouse, is open for anyone to sell produce any day of the week, with no time restrictions.
Moore said that lack of formal rules has worked out well, and regularly attracts vendors from counties such as Bosue, Erath and Hill, in addition to Somervell County.
“It’s still a great thing to have here, whether you grow (the produce) here or not,” Moore said. “With the tourism on the square, it’s immense. It’s part of the charm. It kind of goes back to the old days.”
Moore said he isn’t in charge of the farmers market — and neither is anyone else. He said that it appears to be running perfectly well on its own. The only requirement is that anyone selling items other than farm produce has to obtain a vendor permit from the city of Glen Rose first.
“We don’t want to tell you when to come, or when to stay. Personally, I don’t want all those rules,” Moore said, noting that he simply took interest in the market because he frequently visits the historic downtown area. “Some (other towns) limit the time, some close it down in the winter. We get a few locals. They know they can set up any time.”
Moore noted that, for now, the busiest day for the Glen Rose Farmers Market is usually Saturday. The vendors who were on hand last Saturday filled up the south side of the courthouse parking spaces. But within the next few months, residents and visitors will have even more vendors to choose from. Moore said that each spring, there is one particular woman who usually brings a variety of vegetables to sell on the square every day of the week.
Don Kuehl, who has lived on a small ranch near the Eulogy community in Somervell County since moving from Aledo in 2011, said he comes to the farmers market with his girlfriend about once a week.
“It’s a wonderful thing,” said Kuehl, a Navy veteran and retired corporate jet pilot. “It’s great for Glen Rose. Weekenders come out of Fort Worth and Dallas to shop. There are good people, and good vendors.”
Kuehl said he is a gardener himself, but still enjoys shopping for the types of produce he doesn’t grow at home.
“As gardens mature, we’re going to have more vendors here,” Kuehl said.
Louise Dooley, who lives near Chalk Mountain on Paradise Valley Ranch, said she has been participating in the Glen Rose farmers market as a vendor since August 1970.
“I started out bringing pecans,” she said, noting that she no longer specializes in selling them because the harvest trends were too inconsistent for a variety of reasons. Now she focuses on selling canned jellies and jams, assisted by her great-granddaughter Sierra Crank. Louise said her family used to own Dooley Portable Buildings.
“I think it’s fun and it’s work, but it’s enjoyable,” she said of the farmers market. “I meet lots of people. It’s fun just getting to know people, and people come back year after year.”
Gary Bowles, a 63-year-old McGregor resident, has been selling honey at the farmers market in Glen Rose because most others in the area have restrictions and regulations that make them “undoable” for him.
“I think it’s great,” Bowles said. “It works well. There seems to be a lot of tourists because of the stores. Hopefully we help the stores and they provide a lot of foot traffic for us, too.”
Sherri Littlejohn, who owns and operates Littlejohn Farms in Gustine with her husband Mark, was selling produce last Saturday with onions, fresh eggs, cantaloupe, squash, cucumbers and potatoes.
“We’ve been coming about six years — every summer,” Sherri Littlejohn said. “It’s been very successful. People are great here. I love the town.”
She said she and her husband own their own produce market, plus Littlejohn’s restaurant — a home-cooked buffet on Lingleville Road in Stephenville.
Sherri Littlejohn said she loves coming to the Glen Rose farmers market so much that she seriously wants her twin grandsons, Cooper and Everett, to take over for her when they are old enough. Their parents are Stephenville residents Ben Hussey and Lyndsi Hussey, who is the daughter of Sherri and Mark. That will be a while, though, since they’re only nine months old.
“I’m bringing my twin grandsons,” Sherri Littlejohn said. “I want them to grow up around the people here, to get to know them. Then, when they get big enough, they can come out and sell to the people. Because we’re going to keep raising our produce.”
Cooper and Everett were already drooling over the prospect, but had no comment.