Farmers Face Obstacles to Bring Farmers Market Back to Odessa

By: Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - West Texas farmers and ranchers want to bring a Farmer's Market back to Odessa.

So far, they're not having an easy time of it.

"When we're picking out food here it's not unusual to see one of the kids pick up a black eyed pea, shell it and just eat it right there," Midland County Farmer Mark Barnett, said. "You know fresh grown produce is so good. It's sun ripened."

He wants that for all Odessans, but it won't be just fruits and veggies.

On top of fresh produce, they also want to use locally raised meats including beef, chicken, buffalo and more.

Ector County Rancher, Schuyler Wight, sells his meat in Midland and is itching to do it in Odessa.

"If you have Farmers Market you remove all them (middle men,)" Wight said. "You deal directly with the producer. If you have any question about how the animals are raised or how your produce is raised, you can just ask the farmer."

In late April, early May, local farmers started working with the City of Odessa to lease the old market. But Barnett says insurance and other city requirements is making it too expensive.

"It's frustrating because if we do everything they want us to do, the booth costs could be like $50," Barnett said. "You pay $50 to sell $80 worth of produce it's not worth it; they're not going to do it. They'll just give it away."

The city says they're just following the rules.

"The city of Odessa has been working with the farmers to establish a Farmers Market at 2nd and Grant," Andrea Goodson with the City of Odessa said. "We think it's a great thing and we're working to make sure that does happen."

They're still working with the city but are also looking elsewhere to make sure a market returns to Odessa.