Heights Mercantile has already become one of its neighborhood’s favorite destinations for shopping and dining, but a new initiative will combine the two. Starting Sunday, September 29, the development will host a monthly farmers market.
Organized by local wellness expert Casey Barbles, the market will feature about a dozen vendors, including Urban Harvest staples like Atkinson Farm, JSH Microgreens, Sustainable Harvesters, and Rio Grande Organics.
Currently, the market is only being held on the last Sunday of every month from 9 am to 1 pm. If the community responds favorably, that could increase to twice a month or even weekly.
Barbles tells CultureMap that she used food to help herself heal from a serious illness. Instructed by her geneticist to eat a mostly vegan diet with some seafood, she turned to Instagram for inspiration; eventually, she started documenting her journey of preparing dishes using farm fresh ingredients. Now, her account (@the_informal_grub) has over 10,000 followers, and she’s almost completed her studies to become a board-certified nutritionist.
“Once I learned that what I was eating was affecting me in a positive way, I started getting my energy back. I started going to the Urban Harvest farmers market,” Barbles says. “As I started to do that, I got to know the farmers and only cooking with food coming from Urban Harvest. I started getting stronger.”
After hosting a cooking demonstration at Heights Mercantile store Lemon Laine, property developer Radom Capital approached Barbles about operating a farmers market. She agreed but only under the condition that it take place on Sunday, so as not to conflict with Urban Harvest.
Barbles says she’s still looking for more vendors to round out the market’s offerings, including additional produce purveyors and an egg supplier. Interested parties may contact her through the market’s Instagram account or via email.
She has other ambitions for the market’s goals, too. In particular, she wants to use her training as a nutritionist to guide other people to healthy eating choices. Barbles also sees the market as an opportunity to teach children some basic ideas about entrepreneurship.
“I would love elementary kids to come out. Hope Farms has a lot of farms in schools; they’ll be joining us in November once their yield is up,” she says. “I love the idea of letting these children see the farm-to-table aspect. I want them to be able to sell what they’re growing and get to know the community and see how kind people are.”