Fresh Location: Harlingen Farmers Market opens at new venue

HARLINGEN — Trolena Loya was still savoring the shrimp cocktail she’d just purchased.

She’d sampled a taste first and then made an eager purchase yesterday afternoon from Shrimp Outlet at Harlingen Farmers Market.

“There’s a difference in the taste of the shrimp,” said Loya as her two daughters, Averie, 10, and Margaux, 11, looked on.

Loya’s observation that she’d found a refreshing new taste in the shrimp cocktail fit the occasion well for several reasons. One reason was obvious: the vendors set up weren’t locked into a small stretch of street in the downtown district.

The farmers market was opening its first day of the season at its new location at 2nd Street and Tyler Avenue.

That location is also in the large parking lot next to Harlingen City Hall. Numerous city officials and community leaders gathered for an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Joe Brotzman-Gonzales, treasurer for the Harlingen Farmers Market, grasped a huge pair of scissors. With the ribbon glistening white in the afternoon sun, he slit it in two, officially marking a new era in the Harlingen Farmers Market.

Vendors appreciated the new location. Keil Burnell, captain and one of the owners of Shrimp Outlet, said it best.

“It’s more out in the open,” he said. “There’s a lot more visibility.”

Soon vendors began doing a brisk business in baked goods, honey, seafood, fresh vegetables and other goods in the large parking lot next to Harlingen City Hall.

“This is going to be an awesome area,” said Harlingen City Commissioner Victor Leal.

He gestured toward some orange plastic fencing which surrounded a wooden roof still under construction.

“They’re going to be setting up under the awning,” he said with anticipation.

“We’re going to be able to have music out here, we’re going to have more vendors,” he said.

The previous area presented problems of limited parking and vendor space.

Not so with the new location, said Kate McSwain, market manager.

She didn’t know for sure when the “awning” would be completed. Once the structure is finished, the parking lot will have enough room for 32 vendors, quite an increase from the previous 22 at the old location. That location also limited the number of visitors to 300 – 500.

McSwain was jubilant by yesterday’s turnout.

“We had over 700 visitors today,” she said.

If You Go

WHERE: 2nd Street and Tyler Ave. next to Harlingen City Hall

WHEN: Every Saturday until mid-June, 3 – 4:30 p.m.