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It Takes a Village: Our Chat with Highway 19 Produce

Pam and Mark on a recent market day. Photo by CFM Volunteer, Marilyn Horton.

Written by Aimee Blinder, Coppell Farmers Market (CFM) Committee Member and Creative Writer.

As we continue winding our way through our delightful interview series, we caught up with Pam Bever from one of our newest vendors, Highway 19 Produce, who joined CFM in February of this year. Even though customers recognize Pam and Mark as the faces at the Market, the true heart of this family operation is actually their son Bobby. While still in college, Bobby’s dream to grow chemical free produce and berries came to fruition starting in 2010 and since that time has expanded to include three growing plots triangulated north and south of Hwy 19 and Country Road 1119 (hence the farm’s name).

Where were you born and raised? Although technically a native Californian born in Walnut Creek, Pam has called the Dallas area home since she was three years old.

What does it mean to be able to serve the community directly as part of CFM? The family has been farming for over 10 years now and they’ve experienced all kinds of different distribution channels, but they really love dealing directly with the public. As Pam shared, “In the retail space you truly become part of the communities you serve and we really enjoy educating folks on our produce and growing methods.”

Highway 19 Produce stall at the Coppell Farmers Market. Photo by Abigail Paxton Photography.

What does Texas pride mean to you? As Pam puts it, “Texas is its own nation really and it’s such a deeply patriotic place.”

Taking in a scenic view would you rather it be by horseback or in your favorite classic convertible? It would horseback big time. A passion for horses runs deep in Pam’s history. She has shown horses since she was seven years old and became very involved in Tennessee Walking Horses for many years. She retired from the horse show circuit after having children, and focused on helping her kids show their horses. Pam and Mark still have three horses and she said she’d get back into horse life in a heartbeat if there were more hours in the day. As for the rest of the family, they wouldn’t be on horses, but on the backs of ATVs havin’ fun offroadin’, and kickin’ up dust.

If you could have any creature comfort upgrade to your CFM vendor stall what would it be? Most definitely it would be the ability to get out of the elements, and have full control of a thermostat. Pam is admittedly a fair-weather farmer and with summer temps reaching into the 100s, we feel you Pam.

What is your proudest moment so far in regard to your business? “You know, our story is kind of the reverse of most in that our son started the farm, and over time we left our jobs to help him. So, it’s absolutely a family farm, but with the youngins leading the way. I just love seeing my son and husband working side by side, bringing this vision to life every day, creating a family legacy for future generations.”

You move a bucket in the garage, would you rather see a snake, gigantic spider, or a badger? To Pam all of them sound awful, but given a choice she’d likely opt for the spider. Who knows, maybe it could be Charlotte and write Pam a nice little message in her web.

What is the hottest day in Texas by degrees that you’ve ever experienced? Just like our chat with Jersey Girls, Pam remembers The Greater Scorcher of 1980 vividly. She remembers coming back from a trip, stepping off the plane, and just being consumed by the incredible heat.

Patty Pan squash grown by Highway 19. Photo by Abigail Paxton Photography.

Do you have a favorite movie or TV show that would surprise people, a guilty pleasure? Like most these days, Mark and Pam record everything and they do have their favorite shows, mostly crimes or dramas. At the moment they are loving the series Yellowstone with Kevin Costner. They also read quite a lot, but their latest entertaining pastime is an app called Township about farming of all things. So, when they aren’t actually farming in real life, they are having fun building virtual farms. And of course, we now have our own Township farm and suggest all of our CFM village download and play along, because virtually milking a cow is surprisingly fun!

Of your peer vendors, what is one of your favorite foods that you enjoy? “Oh, there are too many to name”, Pam said, “but Hazel’s gets a shout out, Hash Browns & Hippos (who was their stall neighbor at another market for years), Village Bakery, Tree Folk, and their current stall neighbor Cardo’s Sprout Farm. Pam said they focus on getting items they don’t have access to on their own farm, and CFM has such a great variety that’s easy to do.

Is there a particular family tradition that stands out in your life? Going back to the heart of the farm being their son Bobby, Pam shares “Even though it was our son that had the inspiration to start the farm, farming is actually family tradition for us. You see, our son is a 3rd generation farmer, both his grandfather and great grandfather were farmers, so his calling is a deep legacy and rooted in our family DNA.” Some of the farming plots that they use now are actually sourced from past family farm land, one which has been in the family for 36 years now. This is even longer than Mark & Pam have been married, which is now 35 years. Congratulations!

Mark and the Highway 19 Produce stand at the CFM. Photo by Abigail Paxton Photography.

If you set out on a camping trip and could only bring 3 provisions from your offering, what would you bring and why? Strawberries, blackberries, and tomatoes. For Pam it’s all fruit, all the time!

Are you able to fall asleep in a crowd of people or do you need absolute pin drop quiet? While Pam is a light sleeper, Mark is out immediately and doesn’t seem to move at all during the night. More time for Pam to get ahead of him with her Township farm!

If given the opportunity, would you want to fly in the cockpit of a 747? Without hesitation, it was an “Oh yes!”

What utility upgrade is a must for any truck loving Texan and one you use most often? For Pam it’s her truck seats that she can cool or heat, she just loves them, it’s been such a luxury and she uses them all of the time. So, if you see Pam taking a quick break in the truck in summer or winter, you’ll know why, smart lady right there!

Do you have a recent example of farm life ingenuity by using something for a totally different purpose and being very pleased with the outcome? Pam had a great recent story of repurposing farm style. Mark’s sister gave them a flatbed trailer which they then fitted with a water tank, sprayer, and generator. They can now fill the tank at the well, and drive it up the hill to water areas that have been notoriously difficult to water. Mark is the in-house mechanic & engineer who was the brainchild for this particular ingenious invention.

After a very long day, what would be your favorite food aroma to come home to upon opening the door? We couldn’t help but laugh, because Pam gave the same exact answer that Miss Leah from Jersey Girls gave in our last interview, “Any food, cooked by anyone else!”

Given you are a family business, what are some fun ways your grandchildren help out around the farm? Even though we were on the phone, I could hear Pam’s smile brimming when she speaks of her granddaughters who are 13 months, 14 months, and 3, “They are right in the middle of everything, they love to help us pick the produce. When we are prepping for CFM on Friday nights, they are right there helping. Hopefully some of them will want to continue the legacy on too.” On any given day you can find their little cherub faces red from strawberries, getting rides on the tractor, feeding the animals, reminding us all of the simple pleasures.

Do you have a life motto that serves you well? For Pam, “The glass is always half full and on the way to being filled up.” It’s clear this matriarch is always striving towards an ever-optimistic view and has deeply instilled that in her family as well.

Pams canned goods. Photo by Abigail Paxton Photography.

What a wonderful time we had with Pam, learning that all farms have their own unique story and Highway 19 Produce is no exception. We love their rich family farming legacy and that their son Bobby has created something truly special while also carrying on a family tradition. During your next CFM visit, do drop by and see Mark & Pam and pick up some of their delicious fresh offering as well as any number of Pam’s homemade pickled delights, all of which are also sourced from their farm. You can also visit them at www.Hyw19produce.com for more information on pre-orders and seasonal offerings.

The Coppell Farmers Market provides groceries year-round and vendors are vetted to ensure they make and grow what they sell, so shoppers can be confident in the quality they receive! We’re asking shoppers to adhere to certain safety precautions, like practicing physical distancing and wearing masks, during this time. Please be familiar with these guidelines prior to attending.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are accepted at the Coppell Farmers Market. 

The market is located at 768 W. Main St. in Old Town Coppell. Open 8am-noon every Saturday.

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