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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Homegrown brings food trucks, local vendors, live music to Northgate

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Samuel Falade
Visitors attend Homegrown at Northgate, an annual farmers and artisan market on Sunday, April 14, 2024. (Samuel Falade/The Battalion)

A cool breeze flows on a Sunday as people listen to the strums of a guitar and smooth vocals. People stroll past stands and food trucks, stopping to talk and purchase goods from vendors during Homegrown at Northgate, a vendor market hosted by Visit College Station. The family-friendly vendor market in the Northgate district took place along Patricia Street and College Main on April 14. 

With over 50 local and artisan vendors such as Claytique, Hibiscus and Honey Smocked Boutique, Tiptop Woodshop and Rockdale Coffee, this market brought handmade goods to the hands of visitors and locals just as Family Weekend came to a close. 

Visit College Station Events Coordinator Casey Barone said Homegrown at Northgate is a family-friendly event, with a bounce house, balloon making and face painting. 

“It kind of gives this different light on Northgate,” Barone said. “Rather than just saying, ‘Hey, it’s a place where college kids can come hang out in the evening time,’ we’re providing this daytime event so that it can look more family-friendly and families with young kids can go out to it also.”

Visit College Station handed out free tote bags to the first 100 shoppers, which included items from establishments around College Station. 

“Clothes, items for dogs, food, quilting and charcuterie boards, woodworking, crocheting — I mean anything, you name it, chances are there’s a vendor selling it,” Barone said.   

Barone said Homegrown is meant to provide vendors with a profitable place to sell their goods in hopes of boosting tourism and the economy, one of Visit College Station’s goals. 

“It only costs $25 to be a vendor at this event and … sometimes through social media we try to highlight the vendors and whatnot, sending out pictures,” Barone said. “We do what we can to help them be successful and get the visitors to come.”

Owners of Steel Wool Thomas and Anna Shumate have been attending the market as vendors for six years, ever since the market’s inception. Selling handcrafted jewelry and bottle openers, Thomas said he enjoys participating in Homegrown at Northgate because of the event’s location and friendly clientele. 

“We enjoy doing it,” Thomas said. “Going to markets like this and meeting new people. We’ve made plenty of friends with other vendors here. It’s nice to socialize, nice to meet people and others appreciate what you do, that makes it all worth it.” 

Recreation park and tourism science senior Logan Russell sold cookies and cookie cakes at the vendor market from his business, Runner’s High Cookies. Russell started his business in 2022, after selling cookies to fundraise for his high school cross country team a few years previously. After gaining inspiration from friends and trying other cookies, he has expanded to include 13 gourmet flavors such as peanut butter pretzel, cookies and creme and s’mores. 

“My friends were the taste testers … and said ‘Logan, you need to get these cookies down here,’” said Russell. “I chose the name Runner’s High for my cookies because I wanted to trace back into its roots of running and also make sure to emphasize good, quality cookies at an affordable price.” 

Food trucks JLM’s Chicken & Waffle, Kona Ice, Raging Bull Street Tacos, Smokin’ Sims 45, Carousel, Painted Palomino Mobile Bar and Sweet Pops added more food options to the surrounding brick-and-mortar eateries. 

Owners of Painted Palomino Mobile Bar Stephani and Keith Yelmans sold lemonade and soda cream-based beverages out of their converted horse trailer. 

“We saw this rusty trailer out in the woods and we decided to fix it up ourselves and we did,” Stephani said. “Typically what we do is we do alcohol bartending service and we have other things such as lemonades, specialty drinks, like Italian sodas that we’re doing today.” 

Catering to weddings, birthday parties and other events, Stephani said she customizes each menu to the event, incorporating new flavors and combinations. 

“This is our first time to do Homegrown since we’re still rather new, but for me as far as doing this, I just really enjoy it,” Stephani said. “I enjoy making drinks, I enjoy people being happy, you know, when we do events, I love it when people say ‘Oh this just tastes so good.’”

Local artists Morgan Ashley and Reagan Quinn performed at the event, playing country and folk music for guests as they walked through the market and ate at picnic tables set up near the food trucks. 

Homegrown shopper Jackie Castellon attended Homegrown at Northgate with her family after visiting her daughter for Family Weekend. Castellon bought a variety of products from the market including bread, jam, jewelry, blueberry coffee and a plant, making sure to stop by every booth.

“Everybody is very friendly, so everybody just chit-chats and nobody pushes anything … they’re just friendly,” Castellon said. “This is just great, I’ve loved all the little booths … and we’ve stopped at them all so it’s a nice setup, very cool.”

Editor’s note: an earlier version of this article incorrectly listed Big Dawg BBQ as a vendor and omitted Carousel and Smokin’ Sims 45. This has been corrected.

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Nadia Abusaid
Nadia Abusaid, Life & Arts Writer
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