Galveston’s Own Farmers Market (GOFM) opened in October 2012 in a humble downtown parking lot behind Antiques Warehouse with a quaint view of a community garden, a greenhouse, and a back alley. It took many hard hours, days and months of work to prove to this island that GOFM was here to stay, and even more to convince this community a small farmers’ market was worth your Sunday morning.
Now, GOFM has many loyal customers and a steadfast showing of vendors selling handmade and locally-grown foods including ripe tomatoes plucked off the vine, lettuces cut that morning, effervescent kombucha bottled the day before, golden honey from bees foraging off local tallow, palm, and wildflowers, and melt-in-your-mouth sourdough baked only hours earlier in the wee hours of the morning.
The rising trend of local farmers markets is old news – from 2006 to 2014, the number of markets in the United States rose from 1,765 to more than 8,268. While that number is impressive, it’s important to ask – how many of these markets survive? And moreover – how many thrive?
GOFM is lucky to have grown stronger in the 4 years since opening – due to intentional slow growth and the loyalty of local customers, this ‘little-market-that-could’ hasn’t met the same end as so many other newly-established markets across the country.
It was this strong support base and a wish to meet the demands of the larger community that led to the most recent change for GOFM. This April, GOFM became a 2 day-a-week market with the addition of a new GOFM location at Bryan Museum on Thursday afternoons, 3-7pm.
If you live off-island but work in Galveston during the week – this weekday afternoon market is for you. If our Sunday hours coincide with church services – the Thursday market is for you. If a lazy, homebound Sunday morning is important to your well-being – this new market is for you.
Need another reason to shop at the new Thursday market? All the programs developed at GOFM that helps low-income families are available at the new Thursday market as well! The Fresh Bucks program offers a free $15 boost to customers using SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) for the purchase of fresh produce. Fresh Bucks is offered at both GOFM markets and is available to customers week after week. Another initiative, the Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), supplies free $30 vouchers to families using WIC benefits, also for the purchase of more fresh fruits and vegetables for growing families who need an extra hand.
GOFM has plans to stay and make eating fresh, delicious, and local the new normal – and you can consider yourself invited to the party!