By Sarah Jennings, Reporter
Updated: 8 a.m., Oct. 9
Cooler days are here, complemented by an abundance of fall vegetables, the urge to add cinnamon to every recipe and, most notably, the return of Tuesday Farmers Market. Crafts, games and giveaways will be featured at the Farmers Market Fall Festival from 3-7 p.m. on Tuesday at 400 S. University Parks Drive.
Hosted by the Waco Downtown Farmers Market, Baylor Campus Kitchens and the Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition, the Farmers Market Fall Festival is a free event that promotes local, heathy food. Those who bring canned goods will receive a reusable bag in return.
“The event on the 13th is going to be a great thing for kids and families to attend,” said Kristi Pereira, the Waco Downtown Farmers Market Manager. “And it’s a really great way for people who couldn’t make it on Saturday to have a midweek option to utilize the farmers market.”
The Fall Festival will be on the lawn next to the vendors. In addition to a variety of free games and crafts like leaf colorings and veggie printing, supplies will be available for $2 to participate in pumpkin painting and making Mason jar candles. Pre-made Mason jar candles will be available for $3. All donations will go directly to the Urban Garden Coalition and Baylor Campus Kitchen.
There will also be free recipes that will coordinate with that day’s selection of local ingredients sold by vendors. These recipes are the collaboration of Kelly Ezell, Healthy Initiatives Coordinator for Baylor Campus Kitchens and the Urban Gardening Coalition; Tricia Lyles, a Baylor graduate student in Nutrition Sciences; Caroline McLain, Campus Kitchen Coordinator; and Kathleen Lokey, Baylor Community Garden Coordinator.
“We’re going to make recipes and hopefully keep them simple,” Ezell said. “I understand that when you see this long list of things you have to buy and you’re in a hurry, you think, ‘I don’t have time to make all that.’ So we’re trying to make the recipes simple. The majority of the ingredients can come from the market. They’re fall-focused and healthy.”
Ezell said she’s working on recipes like cinnamon roasted butternut squash, homemade pumpkin puree and roasted pumpkin seeds. She said her goals are to increase public knowledge of the preparation of the fall foods available at the market and to make it easier for people to eat healthy and local.
“We try our best to get locally grown foods,” Ezell said. “It means a lot to me and [my husband] to give back to local farmers and support the Waco economy. We try to plan our meals before the farmers market and get what we can. That’s what’s nice about the Tuesday market. If you forget something else or run out midweek, you can come back.”
The market is coming up on its four-year anniversary in November. The first round of Tuesday markets began last April. Tuesday markets are now held seasonally from April to June and October to November. The first Tuesday market of the season occurred Oct. 6. Pereira said there are more fresh produce and creative ideas for prepared foods in the market’s future. Applications to become a new vendor are reviewed once a month.
To stay connected, follow @wacofarmersmkt on Instagram and Twitter, or like the Waco Downtown Farmers Market page on Facebook. Information on volunteering opportunities, a calendar of events, what’s in season and more can be found at wacodowntownfarmersmarket.com.