Austin Found: What did Austin’s farmers markets look like in the 1970s and 1980s?
It’s National Farmers Market Week!
This is the 18th year for this USDA-approved event that celebrates the thousands of farmers markets across the country. For every $100 spent at a farmers market, $62 stays in the local economy and $99 stays in state, according to the Farmers Market Coalition, a national organization committed to strengthening farmers markets.
Carlos Rodriguez (May 26, 1977, photo by Kit Brooking); No name/info for middle photo; Jeff Campbell of the Stonewall Chili Pepper Co. at the Travis County Farmers Market’s Texas Hot Pepper Festival (Sept. 6, 1992, photo by Larry Kolvoord)
According to research conducted by the USDA, farmers and ranchers that sell directly to consumers at farmers markets have lower rates of bankruptcy and farm foreclosure than producers that rely solely on the wholesale contracts.
To celebrate the long history and cultural and economic importance of farmers markets, I thought I’d dig into our archives to find photos of markets in the Austin area from the 1970s through the early 1990s, when Austin’s primary market was located on Lakeshore Boulevard just north of Riverside Drive.
I don’t have a lot of caption info about the farmers and customers in these photos, so if you recognize someone or want to share your memories from these markets, leave a comment below.
Debi White, right, of White Produce northwest of Dallas sells produce to a shopper at the grand opening of the Travis County Farmers Market, which was open every day of the week. 1989 photo by Ralph Barrera.
RELATED: A sampling of Central Texas Farmers Markets
Shannon Grant sells tomatoes to Beth Martin at the C&J Produce Farm booth at the farmers market on Burnet Road. 1992 photo by David Kennedy
RELATED: After ‘Farm to Fable’ controversy, what does it really mean to ‘eat local’?
Peaches and other fruit for sale from Lightsey Farms in Mexia. 1991 photo by Lynn Dobson
RELATED: Two local farms, connected by a pig, a farmers market and this bargain-hunting shopper
Connie Guitierrez of Corpus Christi (July 15, 1984, photo by Ralph Barrera); Ken Pryor (May 6, 1977, photo by Tom Lankes); J.A. Boyd (photo by Daniel Kennedy)
RELATED: Retiring farmers market manager Suzanne Santos brought farm to Austin tables
In 1989, some farmers at the South Austin Farmers’ Market split off to run their own market at the Live Oak Hotel at 2900 South Congress. Photo by Ralph Barrera
RELATED: Texas’ oldest CSA has seen community, farm industry transform
Leeks cost 20 cents a bunch at the Travis County Farmers Market in 1977 (right). Tom Lankes photos
Bert Bochert and Cornell Marcee sell produce at the farmers market in 1978.
Pauline Palousek smells a melon, right, while Amy Wilson looks on at one of the Austin farmers markets on May 24, 1980. Photo by Kit Brooking
Frank Hunt sells honey at the Travis County Farmers Market (April 25, 1988, photo by Zach Ryall); Marilyn Bryan buys pickling cucumbers at the Travis County Farmers Market (June 2, 1991, photo by Mike Boroff); Mauro Vasquez shows his garlic to a customers (June 18, 1983, photo by Zach Ryall)
A band called The Polacheck Bros. and Maggie played at the farmers market in 1980. Photo by Kit Brooking
Ben Marroquin, right, buys parsley from John Bennett at the Burnet Road Farmers Market in 1988. Photo by Zach Ryall
Cora Lamar of Kosse sells her produce at the Travis County Farmers Market in 1991. Photo by Mike Boroff
Rusty Harsh of Luling sells tomatoes at the Travis County Farmers Market in 1990. Photo by Mike Boroff
Denise Worthey and her son, Miles, buy apples at the Travis County Farmers Market in 1989 through the Farmers Market Coupon Program, a Texas Department of Agriculture initiative to increase access to healthy food for WIC participants. Photo by Mike Boroff
J.D. and Barbara Moffett of Red Rock, right, sell produce to customers Linda and Ed Smith, left. 1986 photo by Tom Lankes
John Vlcek of the Texas Department of Agriculture inspects produce at one of the Austin farmers markets in 1983.
Larry Butler of Boggy Creek Farm sells produce in 1993.