This is Part 2 of our celebratory look back at the market's history as we roll along in our 10th year of operation. Committee member Pat Daly wrote the article in July of 2009, so all comments refer to then-current vendors and activities. Remember Customer Appreciation Day? Because of space limitations and all the construction we can't host this at our current location, but Pat recounts the very first Customer Appreciation Day with all the obstacles involved, but overcome, to make it a hot success.
I hope you enjoyed last week’s article. I have two more historical topics to tell you about.
Customer Appreciation Day
Shortly after the start of the third season, Jack Finley suggested that we provide free barbecue sandwiches, hot dogs, and soft drinks as a “thank you” to our customers. Thus began the first of now five Customer Appreciation Days. Here was the plan: Jack had access to a BIG smoker. . . . the kind that’s pulled on a trailer hitch. He was going to partially cook the briskets at his farm near Lipan, come early to the market, then finish them off and start serving around 10:30 a.m. Sounds reasonable, right? “Not so fast,” said the city's environmental health people. They told us that all the cooking activity had to occur on site at the market. That forced Jack to leave home around 9:00 p.m. Friday. He got to the Market around 10:30 that evening and started the fire. He probably put the meat on around midnight or so. I arrived around 4:00 a.m. Saturday to keep Jack company. All the cooking worked out just fine and we served about 200 people. But I think that was the hottest day I can remember. No breeze to speak of and a hot, hot, hot barbecue smoker right next to us. By the time we finished, everyone was overheated and seeking shade. We decided then and there to go with Plan B for the next Customer Appreciation Day, and we didn't even have a Plan B -- we just knew that Plan A was too much. This year, Hard 8 Barbecue came and did a wonderful job helping us out. If you go there to eat, thank David Blair, the manager, for helping us.
As in most endeavors that are in their seventh year, things change, especially the people. We lost one of our produce vendors. Do you remember Floyd Worlow? He passed away around Christmas time in 2005. He was at the Market for the 2004 and 2005 seasons. He was born, raised, and lived in Springtown, about 35 miles northwest of downtown Fort Worth. He was quite the athlete.
I found out after he’d died that he won the state shot put championship as a sophomore and got a football scholarship to New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Floyd would never use any kind of shade nor did he ever wear a hat or cap. He was tough and had a wry sense of humor. One time a customer approached his table and made a comment about his greens having holes in them where they’d been chewed on by bugs. Floyd’s response was: “that just makes them organic”.
One of the really enjoyable parts of being at the market over the years has been seeing the children of the vendors. Gene Holmes of Oak Ridge Valley Farms has had his children helping him since he first starting coming to the Market. The oldest, Annaliese, was about 18 when the Market started. She is now married and has three little ones. Her husband is the oldest child of Robert and Nancy Hutchins of Rehoboth Ranch. Gene’s second daughter, Christina, has also been coming to the Market for years. She blossomed into a beautiful young woman and got married just last month. Both Annaliese and Christina and their husbands live in the Greenville area. Gene’s oldest son, Joed, has also been coming to the market for a long time. He recently had no comment about being the next of Gene's children to get married. Typical bachelor!! Gene’s youngest two boys, James, age six, and Timothy, age three, were at the Market this past Saturday.
Stacy and Jerry Finley (Jerry is Jack Finley’s nephew) are in their sixth season at the Market. They have two daughters, Caitlyn and Natalee. Caitlyn helps her mom out selling produce a few times each year, and Natalie, who was an infant when Stacy first came to the Market, is now a 6-year-old youngster. She has come to the Market at least once this year.
Robert Hutchins of Rehoboth Ranch is in his fifth season. He and several of his children have handled the sales over the years. But they are no longer kids. Their names are Mary, Elizabeth, Sarah, Anna, Stephen, and Samuel . . . and I probably missed some.
Jack Finley’s son, Kevin, has been coming for seven years, also. He's grown up now and actually handles another market location in Fort Worth.
Through the years we have had the pleasure of meeting and working with other vendors’ children and grandchildren as well and it’s always a pleasure.
I hope that this look back has given you some insight into the people that make up our Market.