For the past week, Dripping Springs resident and Farmers Market Manager Laurel Robertson has collected a plethora of high-fives that came her way at city hall.
That feeling of exuberance comes after Dripping Springs’ Farmers Market, which sets up at the Triangle in the heart of the city, was recently named as the very best in the state.
Earlier this month, the Dripping Springs Farmers Market was named No. 1 in Texas for farmers markets, according to results of the Farmers Market Celebration, a contest organized by American Farmland Trust. Dripping Springs’ Farmers Market was also tabbed as 7th best in the nation.
For Robertson, who operates as manager of the city’s farmers market, the accolades show the public understands what the city’s farmers market is trying to accomplish.
“They understand what a good farmers market is and they support it,” Robertson said.
Markets that participated in the competition were evaluated in four categories – Focus on Farmers, Healthy Food for All, Pillar of the Community and Champion of the Enviornment. Robertson said the city is waiting for official documents from the American Farmland Trust.
Robertson, who oversees as many as 40 venders most weeks, said Dripping Springs has the “perfect example” of a farmers market as it’s just “the right size.”
Having the event in a grassy area, which many other farmers markets do not have the luxury of, also plays a factor, Robertson said.
The uniqueness of products sold at the market is what Robertson believes is a central role in its success. Businesses at the Dripping Springs Farmers Market have to make or raise their products themselves. Members of the market are all primary producers of what they sell.
“I think it’s our rural roots out there and the influx of people who appreciate the quality of the food,” Robertson said.
Robertson said part of her job is ensuring every vendor has the appropriate health permits and legal requirements to sell food and products to the public.
The market also focuses on green-centric initiatives such as utilization of reusable bags.
In addition, products that are sold at the market, such as beef and produce, are organically-certified or naturally-grown. Products range from handcrafted fine arts to produce to various meats such as lamb and bison.
“We’re kind of like a grocery store out in the open. An alfresco grocery store with some amenities thrown in,” Robertson said.
As more farmers markets pop up in the area, Robertson said offering variety in one spot helps to offset the challenge of more options.
“People can shop with confidence out there because we’re carefully curating what goes into our market,” Robertson said.