Sherman's Hidden 'Patch'

By: Dwayne Wilder

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Marjorie Carr was a little girl when her father, Clarence Taylor, rented a lot at the corner of Lamar and Cleveland streets in 1962. The little produce stand has thrived for almost 50 years in east Sherman.
 
“He grew most of it,” Carr recalled. “I would walk down the street from our house on Cleveland to help.”
 
According to Carr, her father started out with a small fruit stand on Broughton Street in the 1950s that he stocked with his own garden. Then, in the early 1960s, Taylor leased a farm and began growing more vegetables, which necessitated a larger place.
 
“He started gardening when I was little and brought the produce here,” Carr added.
 
Carr recalled the stacks of watermelons outside “Taylor’s Tomato Patch,” as it was named; and in season, the pumpkins, too.
 
“There would be 70 pound watermelons and pumpkin after pumpkin he got from a farmer in Floydada,” said Carr who has operated the market since 1982.
 
According to Carr, the building was originally a grocery store from the 1920s. Her father enclosed the front with another room but the site is largely unchanged since it was built. The property had a house on it which Taylor took down himself when he needed the space. He managed the market for 20 years and then Carr took over. She bought the property five years later in 1987.
 
“In 1962, this was the only place in Grayson County you could get tomato plants or pepper plants,” explained Carr. “It was that way for a long time. Dad knew every farmer in Grayson County and west Texas.”
 
Carr realized over the years that she enjoyed the product and the camaraderie with the customers as she helped Taylor part-time. It was natural that she took over.
 
“I just loved the people who traded with us,” she said smiling.
 
The market has many varieties of vegetables, some fruits, potted flowers and seeds; and even fresh eggs sometimes. Carr noted she gets some of them from south Texas farms.
 
“We have green onions, cucumbers, squash and okra from the south,” she said. “And my sister grows the best tomatoes locally.”
 
There are cantaloupes, apples and even beets for any one who wants to try them, she said.
“We have the number one tomatoes around and the sweetest cantaloupes and watermelons,” she listed. “They are all vine ripe, which beats cold storage any time.”
 
Taylor used to have a hot house in the back of the market where he grew tomato plants, according to Carr. But now, she is happy to bring others’ produce to market for them.
 
“We have east Texas sweet potatoes; they are the best in Texas,” she said. “We have rose bushes from Tyler, too.”
 
The atmosphere certainly looks like something out of the 1960s. The three room building has a set of old scales and a pot belly stove. It’s not much to look at, but the produce is the ‘thing,’ said Carr.
 
“We have lots of repeat customers,” said Carr. “I have seen children come in here who are now adults
.”
Taylor’s Tomato Patch is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or whenever Carr gets there.
 
“I’m not in a big hurry some days,” she smiled. “Or when it’s bad weather; but we’ll open eventually.”


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