Talk of how Hutto’s farmers markets are run has some vendors concerned

Talk of how Hutto's farmers markets are run has some vendors concerned

HUTTOW, Texas — A discussion at a Hutto workshop meeting about the prospect of regulating farmers markets has sparked fear and uproar among some market owners and vendors.

Husband and wife Joseph Cortez and Daniela Medellin run the city’s farmers market every Wednesday from 3pm-7pm with nearly 40 small businesses under their belt. It’s a project they started in 2023 and are working on in the downtown area and temporarily at Hutto Discovery United Methodist Church due to the cold weather. It’s one they want to continue working on.

“Being able to serve as a place where small businesses can come and sell their local, home-made products is very important to us,” Medellin said.

However, Cortez and Medellin said concerns about potential new fees and regulations in the future sparked discussion after a meeting on December 14.

“We expect responsibility; we expect communication; we expect relationship; we expect our elected officials to speak knowledgeably, not just speak misleading information and opinions,” Cortez said.

The initial focus at the December meeting was on how to manage food truck operations within the city, and it eventually shifted to food vendors at farmers markets — specifically, where the produce comes from and whether there should be regulations.

“When people come to the city, we don’t have a health department, but they expect a certain level of organization,” Mayor Mike Snyder said during the meeting. This, in turn, led to small business owners speaking before the council at the Jan. 4 meeting to stress the importance of what they call their livelihoods.

“This is the only way I will be able to move forward with my future and take care of my family,” one business owner said during the Jan. 4 meeting.

According to Snyder, Hutto doesn’t have any rules for vendors and small businesses that come in and want to sell items, and the workshop meeting was just a discussion about potential ideas.

One idea that was floated was to put all the markets in the city-owned co-op seven days a week, at no cost.

“If something goes wrong in the city, we have no way now — we have no way of knowing who is here because there is no permit process that is currently followed,” Snyder. “We’re not trying to charge people. We’re trying to have a little bit of organization so everyone knows exactly who’s here.”

But Cortez and Medellin are not convinced and believe that if they were moved to city-owned properties, it would only hurt businesses across the board.

“This is our home and we will speak out not just for the market, but for the community, for our neighbors and for all these businesses that are here today that are trying to make a living in the ways we can.” Cortez said.

The mayor and city council are expected to discuss the issue again on February 1.

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