Harlingen Farmers Market Expands in New Location


Harlingen Farmers Market Expands in New Location

Workers put the finishing touches on a shade structure at the new location for the Harlingen Farmers Market.
Workers put the finishing touches on a shade structure at the new location for the Harlingen Farmers Market.

Market reopens in two days

Workers are racing to complete a shade structure before Saturday’s reopening of the Harlingen Farmers Market at its new location at First Street and Tyler Avenue next to City Hall.

“We will have shade for 20 vendors,” market manager Kate McSwain said. “We have 32 vendors lined up right now. That’s a big increase over last year. I’m very excited.” The market will be open every Saturday from 3-4:30 p.m.

“We have several new farmers that are going to join us. They are young and getting started and they grow only organic produce,” she said. “Everything sold at the market will come from within a 50-mile radius.” Other new vendors will be selling grass-fed beef, dried fruits and nuts, fresh flowers and other offerings along with the regular vendors that have been part of the market for years.

In past years the market was set up in the block of A Street south of Monroe Avenue in downtown Harlingen. “A year and a half ago we really ran out of room,” McSwain said. The search began and with the help of city officials like City Manager Dan Serna and then-Downtown Harlingen Director Cheryl LaBerge the new location was designated.

Harlingen Architect Meg Jorn, also involved with the nonprofit Healthy Harlingen, joined the effort as a volunteer and secured $135,000 as part of a grant from the Legacy Foundation to fund the construction of the shade structure. “Meg Jorn was really a champion of the farmers market,” McSwain said. “It was so Meg. She knew it was good for the community.”

Jorn’s partner in the architectural and interior design firm of Megamorphosis, John Pearcey, donated his services to design the shade structure, which will include six-foot-tall rain barrels to collect rain from the roof.

The new location is a city-owned parking lot next to City Hall. “The city is providing the parking lot, two trash cans and a porta-potty,” McSwain said. “During the week the city can use it for covered parking for employees.

Recent rains put construction behind schedule, but the delays will not affect the opening on Oct. 14. “Whether it’s ready to go or not we will be on that parking lot,” McSwain said. “The chamber will be there to do a ribbon cutting.”

George Cox is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years experience as a newspaper writer and editor. A Corpus Christi native, he started his career as a reporter for The Brownsville Herald after graduating from Sam Houston State University with a degree in journalism. He later worked on newspapers in Laredo and Corpus Christi as well as northern California. George returned to the Valley in 1996 as editor of The Brownsville Herald and in 2001 moved to Harlingen as editor of the Valley Morning Star. He also held the position of editor and general manager for the Coastal Current, a weekly entertainment magazine with Valleywide distribution. George retired from full-time journalism in 2015 to work as a freelance writer and legal document editor. He continues to live in Harlingen where he and his wife Katherine co-founded Rio Grande Valley Therapy Pets, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising public awareness of the benefits of therapy pets and assisting people and their pets to become registered therapy pet teams.