The Dodge City farmer’s market has grown since the middle of August, with 18 vendors registered, according to coordinator Wilma McCollough.

    The market, located downtown on Front Street, offers different types of produce and fruits, baked goods and even locally grown eggs. Vendors are showing up on Saturdays not only from around Dodge City, but also from Larned, Cimarron, Copeland, Minneola and Ford.

    One of the difficulties the farmer's market has faced in the last years is a dearth of vendors, but that trend seems be changing this year.


The Dodge City farmer’s market has grown since the middle of August, with 18 vendors registered, according to coordinator Wilma McCollough.
    The market, located downtown on Front Street, offers different types of produce and fruits, baked goods and even locally grown eggs. Vendors are showing up on Saturdays not only from around Dodge City, but also from Larned, Cimarron, Copeland, Minneola and Ford.
    One of the difficulties the farmer's market has faced in the last years is a dearth of vendors, but that trend seems be changing this year.
    The farmer's market used to have a lot of vendors on both sides of the street, and a lot of products were available, said Richard Olive, who has been a vendor for the last 33 years.
    “I believe the reason why the farmer’s market vendors have decreased in the last ten years is because people were farming more vegetables and fruits before," he said. "But now with the health worries about some produce as jalapeños and tomatoes, this place is a healthful alternative to local consumers."
    Olive sells several varieties of produce, such as giant cabbages, and even shrubs and garden plants.
    Brad Howland, a young farmer, is participating in the farmer's market as a vendor for the first time this year. He sells eggs while he takes care of his little son.
    “I raise 35 chickens, and I decided to come here to offer a fresh product directly to consumers and for a cheaper price than the grocery store," he said. "I sell a dozen eggs for $2.50."
    Carla Schmidt comes from Cimarron to sell baked goods, displaying more than 20 kinds of bread on her table.
    “I use not so much sugar in baked goods, knowing it is more healthful for consumers," she said. " My products sell fast, but sometimes sales are slow."
    Carthel McCollough and his wife, Wilma, bring new motivation to the farmer's market each year. He's an 86-year old veteran of World War II and the Korean War veteran, and she's a retired teacher. They both grow vegetables and fruits to sell at the farmer's market.
    This year, the McColloughs are growing tomatoes, green peppers, onions, cucumbers, squashes, green and yellow beans, blackberries, corn and jalapeños.
    He said growing vegetables and fruits takes a lot of work.
    “I engage long hours working in my gardens, since it is also a healthful activity for me because of my age,” he said.
    Wilma said she's optimistic about this year's market because more vendors started registering in August. But she added that the weather may be one reason why more vendors did not sign up when the market began in early June.
    “Gardens were slow to grow and, therefore, picking up the crop has taken more time this year," she said. "The temperature was changing often from cold to warm to hot, and that delayed the crop. Hopefully I expect more vendors early in September, when the full crop begins to be picked."
    She said the community is showing its support by patronizing the market more frequently on Saturdays.
    However, she said, vendors need the city to control the speed of traffic along Wyatt Earp Boulevard near the market's location.
    “We would like the city to do something regarding this concern,” she said.
    After each week's market ends, the McColloughs donate their leftover produce to the First Presbyterian Church, which uses the food for its Friendship Feast program.                         “This is our 12th year in the row coordinating and selling at the farmer's market," Wilma McCollough said. "We hope to continue until we don't have enough strength."