Nine miles outside of College Station, on an expanse of 43 acres, lives Glen and Lois Vaugh. While they might seem like your typical Texas farmers, they are actually quite unique.
They are the sole providers of fresh produce and other home-grown goods to the farmer’s market located on the Scott & White – College Station campus.
For almost a year now, the Vaughs have trekked into town with their goods twice a week to sell fresh ingredients to Scott & White patients and staff.
“We started as just a home garden and then it expanded as we saw that we could sell our produce,” Mrs. Lois Vaugh said. “All of our products are products of our farm. We make it all out of what we raise.”
Sitting at a table next to a homemade sign in one of the hospital’s parking lots, the two, who have been raising their own food for 48 years, do their part to bring healthy eating to Scott & White patients and staff.
“Having the Vaughs come and sell their produce is doing us a favor,” said director of clinical operations at the College Station campus, Ms. Kendall Parker. “It lets our patients know that we’re doing something for them and promoting healthy eating not only for our team members, but also for the community.”
The farmers come every Tuesday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and every Friday from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. and set up shop on Glen Haven Road, right between the two hospital buildings.
They sell vegetables like potatoes, onions, carrots and green beans, fruits like strawberries, blackberries, and pears, and even fresh jams and jellies.
And if you’re not a resident of College Station, you’re still in luck. Scott & White hosts farmer’s markets on several of its campuses, including Temple and Round Rock.
“We started this a couple of years ago, and it’s just a way for our staff and community to shop for fresh produce and support our local farmers,” said Wellness Program Specialist, Alex Hainzinger.
While the College Station campus relies on the bountiful harvest from the Vaughn’s farm, the Temple farmer’s market has over 18 local farmers and vendors, who come every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the shady area near the Vasicek Cancer Treatment Center, to sell their goods.
“We’ve had over 450 customers every Wednesday this summer,” Hainzinger said.
And you won’t just get fresh produce at this farmer’s market. You can also find fresh eggs, goat cheese, whole wheat and whole grain breads, plants and even live music.
In the past, the market has only been open from May through August. But this year Scott & White – Temple is extending the market through Sept. 26, so more patients and staff can take advantage.
“The [farmer’s market] really helps promote the work/life balance,” Hainzinger said. “You have the option to come on your lunch break and get everything you need to go home and cook a healthy meal.”
Hainzinger said he’s also seen the market benefit those visiting the hospital.
“I’ve had people come up to me and say, I really love this market. It beats sitting in the waiting room for hours. It’s great to get out and do some shopping.”
And if you’ve been shopping in Round Rock on a Saturday lately, you’ve probably noticed another farmer’s market set up in the parking lot facing University Blvd. on the Scott & White – Round Rock campus.
The Round Rock Farmer’s Market moved their operation there last June to give the market more exposure and be able to serve more customers. Now, every Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., 15 to 20 farmers sell their locally grown produce to more than 200 patrons.
Greg Coley, market manager for the Round Rock Farmer’s Market said the new location has not only improved business, but it has also improved the way local people buy food.
“I think farmer’s markets are important because you know where your food is coming from,” Mr. Coley said. “We don’t do any reselling. Everything is sold by the person who grew it.”
And the farmers don’t just bring their crops to market. They also bring their advice and friendly, down-home company.
“We have people who are trying to grow a garden and they come out and talk to us. If we don’t have the answer, we can tell them who does,” he said. “And we have regulars who we’ve gotten to know. You don’t get that from a grocery store.”
So, if you’re looking for the opportunity to eat healthier or get some advice about your own garden, then visit one of Scott & White’s farmer’s markets.
About the author
Jessa McClure holds a degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, TX, where she is currently an adviser for student publications. She has been a writer in the health care field since 2009.