“I told John (Vlcek), ‘I’d like to put up a market here in Tyler’… So we had a meeting and we had about 15 to 16 producers in East Texas to show up for the meeting and explain to them what we was trying to do. But then I went on the Horace McQueen Show and advertised it and promoted it. We opened up on the Thursday, and we had 75 producers to show up to sell directly. On Saturday we had 100 and something. And we had the news media there, it got good coverage. It operated on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. It still works today. It’s moved around, to different locations, but the core of the farmers market still operates today.”
Leroy Biggers was working as a Marketing Specialist at the Texas Department of Agriculture when Jim Hightower was elected. He helped transform the Tyler Farmers Market from a rose market to offering a variety of locally grown produce sold directly to consumers. Leroy also helped organize the Blueberry Growers Association and the Christmas Tree Association, to connect producers with wholesalers in urban areas, rather than relying on customers to come out to their farms. He also assisted orchard growers to move into value-added products, such as jams and jellies, to capture more of the consumer dollar.