By Dana Delgado
BERTRAM — Under an expansive canopy from a grove of mature oak trees, Bertram hosts a hearty, all locally-grown Farmer’s Market every Friday from 3-6:30 p.m.
In only its second year, the Market in Bertram has become a happening place and couldn’t have found a more apt location with ample room for vendors and parking and abundant shade.
“The Market’s going well and growing,” said Loy Ogden, who on this particular Friday brought beans, peas, cucumbers, watermelons, bell peppers and tomatoes. “We have gotten a lot of support from the Bertram area and the feedback has all been very positive.”
The Market offers locally grown fresh vegetables, jams, jellies and other homemade food products as well as different craft vendors.
Dickie Allen, who sells okra, cucumbers, cantaloupe, squash and tomatoes, remarked that the Bertram Farmer’s Market has been such a success that it has been selling out about every week. On this second Friday in August, everything was gone within the first 90 minutes.
“We are getting a lot of repeat customers and have been averaging between 12 and 15 vendors every week,” Allen said. “One lady even comes all the way from Coleman to sell her jelly.”
Among the regular vendors are Arlan Montgomery who specializes in onions including purple onions and candy onions that are very sweet. He also offers a variety of summer and fall vegetables.
Aaron Bullock has a variety of vegetables, and Ken and Guileen Odiorn have tomatoes, peppers and homemade bread. Another regular vendor is J.D. French who has fresh vegetables, homemade bread, crafts and lemonade.
The Market is located at 1450 State Highway 29 West, next to the Bertram Plaza. Although the summer season is waning, the Bertram Farmer’s Market will continue as long as vegetables are available. A fall Market is planned and its re-opening will be announced
Longtime friends Allen and Ogden are partners in coordinating and managing the Market. Allen is a native son of Bertram where he serves as Mayor, while Ogden hails from the West Texas town of Floydada. He moved to Austin in 1992 and then settled in Oatmeal in 2002.
Both said they have large gardens and sell each week.
“I have had a small garden for 20-plus years, Ogden said. “Last year, I put in a large garden. I’m trying to specialize in watermelon and cantaloupe.”
Ogden said that after bouncing around the idea for awhile, he and Allen opened the Market to provide an outlet for local growers and so that local people could have fresh vegetables.
“We worked together for many years at Motorola and Freescale,” said Ogden. “Being the same age, living in Bertram and retiring at the same time, we talked about starting a Farmer’s Market when we retired. The Farmer’s Market site is owned by the Allens and seemed a perfect setting with all the oak trees.”
The partners report that the Farmer’s Market in Bertram is thriving but that additional vendors are always welcome.
“There is a need for more fresh vegetables,” added Ogden.
Interested vendors should call Dickie Allen at (512) 355-2796 or Loy Ogden at (512) 657-1995.
Odgen invited everyone looking for fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as other unique products to meet them under the shady oaks.
“Join us at the Farmer’s Market in Bertram,” said Ogden. It is a pleasant way to spend a Friday afternoon. We meet a lot of nice people and hear lots of good recipes. Everyone has a good time.”