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Crowds flock to first Parks Legado farmers market of summer

John Skiles turned away from a pile of cardboard boxes, all labeled ‘PEACHES’ and stacked up as tall as him, before he swung his foot up to rest on another box in front of him.

All empty.

“I love it,” he smiled.

Big crowds flocked through the first Parks Legado Farmers Market of the season on Saturday morning, all to take a look through vegetables, artisan goods, crafts, fruits like Skiles’ peaches and much more offered from about 70 local vendors.

Then they left with armloads of buys, from what vendors called the biggest and best market at Parks Legado to kick off the center’s second summer running the event.

“We had 36 boxes of peaches, and about 600 pounds of produce, and it’s gone in two hours,” Skiles said a little after 10 a.m. The market opened at 8 in the morning.

“Last year, it was taking almost the whole market to sell everything, so for two hours — yeah, I guarantee this market has grown exponentially,” he added.

The Parks Legado Farmers Market started last summer, with organizers presenting four events over the summer months, and the market’s back for another go-around this summer.

Saturday’s event marked the first of four scheduled for this summer, all on the second Saturday of each month through September — and already, this year’s first market has grown bigger, busier and more successful than the event was last year, echoed vendor Lesli Kizer.

Kizer, under the tent at her own booth, glanced over glass jars filled with colorful jams and jellies offered by her business We Be Jammin — or at least what was left.

“We’ve been pretty busy,” she said. “We’re out of a whole bunch of flavors, but that’s a good problem to have.

“It’s doubled in size,” she added, on the crowd of buyers attending Saturday. “It’s been awesome today.”

Kizer sold jams, jellies, pickles and different condiments bottled by her local company that she started in 2013. Skiles sold some locally grown squash, zucchini and cherry tomatoes, along with peaches the family bought and trucked back from Weatherford on Friday.

They were among the 70 or so vendors on hand Saturday, which is a number that’s grown this year right along with the number of shoppers. About 50 vendors came to the market during each session last summer, organizing official Andrew Marshall said last week, speaking for the Sewell Family of Companies which presents the event at the shopping center the organization built in 2013.

One of those new, first-time vendors, Jason Waters, said he was impressed and excited by the crowds, under his tent and behind the banner Walker-Waters Urban Farm.

“You could sell anything here,” Waters said, as a potential buyer looked through his onions. He sold locally grown onions, squash, tomatoes and potatoes, alongside his wife, Chelsea Waters, who offered bottles of lotion and more from the beauty shop in Odessa she owns called Glitz House of Beauty.

Jason Waters raises vegetables on his land and at his father’s place, and usually just gives extras to his employees at W&W Energy, his business in the oil industry.

“This time we were like, ‘Heck, let’s take it to the farmers market. It’ll be fun,’” Waters said.

Across the plaza, Yolanda Hernandez, also of Odessa, offered samples of her spice called Porras’ Spices de Vida, in her and husband Oliver’s first time at the Parks Legado market.

Yolanda said they had vended at the Odessa, Texas Farmers Market presented by Medical Center Hospital and at the Briar Patch Trade Days in town, and that they planned to be back at the Parks Legado market after Saturday.

“There’s a lot of people here,” Hernandez said. “I think it’s going pretty well.”

The next event at Parks Legado is set to open July 14 from 8 a.m. to noon at the town center located at 7260 East Highway 191. The center will also host markets on Aug. 14 and Sept. 8. The Parks Legado market advertises itself alongside MCH’s market, which opens next on June 23.

“We love it. We’re all about the farmers market, because when we get a chance, we actually get to go and shop a little bit and get some more fresh fruits and veggies and things like that,” Kizer said.

“But I like the fact that it brings everybody out. It’s the good, old-fashioned shopping.”