Customers and vendors at the Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market in 2014. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

On Sunday morning a farmers market cropped up in front of the Whole Foods Market at the Alamo Quarry. The sight was familiar to some, as one had operated there for years, but was discontinued in late 2014. It has now been reopened and rebranded as the Alamo Heights Farmers Market, started by the Koch family of Medina County.

“It was a great market that was stopped because of problems with the people who ran it,” said Tony Koch, a third-generation rancher at Koch Ranches and co-founder of the new market. “Ever since it stopped, our customers were begging us to get it started again. Whole Foods wanted us back, and so did the vendors. So here we are now getting started again.”

The market is open Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sixteen vendors offered their goods this past Sunday, including Engel Farms3G FarmsRiceRise Rice PuddingThe Lemonade CompanyPop’topiaPoteet Country WineryPAWSitively Sweet BakeryLavande LavenderFarm to Juice, High Street Chocolate, Organic ChixLua Brazil, Koch Ranches, and several others.

Next weekend will add six more, among them Peaceful PorkParker Creek Ranch, Blum Coffee and Tea, and others.

The market is just getting up and running, but its organizers plan to include educational and health events, as well as other recurring programming in the near future.

Some markets that take place next to restaurants and bars, such as the one at the Pearl, attract many attendees who aren’t necessarily interested in buying vendors’ products. While the Pearl Farmers Market has the most foot traffic in the city, many go to soak up the environment, snap photos, take a date, or eat breakfast or lunch rather than pick up their week’s produce and meat. If they have other plans, fresh raw ingredients could go bad in the car or have to be carried around all day.

“There will be a certain number of Quarry customers that come here because they’re curious about all the tents, but the core of whom we expect to see here are folks that come here to shop for their week’s groceries and items,” Koch said.

Since the new market is set up directly next to Whole Foods, buyers can get essentials that booths won’t have, such as beer, toiletries, and frozen meals – products that may entice more grocery-focused clients. The Quarry also boasts abundant parking on Sunday mornings prior to the movie theater and several other businesses opening.

Stefan Bowers, founder and chef of renowned local restaurants FeastRebelle, and Batallion, attended the market on Sunday to gather ingredients for his home kitchen.

“More is good,” he said. “Farmers markets aren’t being patronized enough. Hearing from a lot of farmers that work with our restaurants, they aren’t seeing the number of customers that they’re hoping for at the various markets.

“They’re growing a lot of good stuff and could be growing more, but they need a place to reach buyers. Hopefully this market will help bridge that gap.”

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Mitch Hagney

Mitch Hagney is a writer and hydroponic farmer in downtown San Antonio. Hagney is CEO of LocalSprout and president of the Food Policy Council of San Antonio.