Pauls Valley Democrat
Pauls Valley, Oklahoma —
Though seven years the creation of other minds via the Garvin County Community Living Center, one man who has become synonymous with the Valley Farmers Market over the past few has been Vocational Manager Jim Mayberry.
It is Mayberry’s leadership that has helped lead clients since he was hired at the end of 2009 and is once again in full swing as the market is stocked with everything from plants for the garden to chicks like Rhode Island Reds. Its a partnership he does not plan to sever anytime soon with a learning experience for both parties and a successful work in progress.
“I think they give me back more than I give them,” said Mayberry, noting how this is a financial gain for the clients and time well spent. “They enjoy the opportunity of doing something different.”
Technically a native of Stillwater, he still considers Pauls Valley his home town, attending school here until he graduated as a Panther in 1968. It’s also where his wife Jan is from, whose father ran the Texaco station and a place the couple returned to even after careers took them to oil fields or restaurant management.
Mayberry was hired by Cathy Cash and Chip Peirson, good family acquaintances, and it is with Chip he also shares a passion in when it comes to amateur archeology. He prefers to let the six clients he works with handle as much of the duties as possible, whether it be planting in their land near the industrial park, managing propagation in the greenhouse or help carry loads to customer’s vehicles.
The lessons they learn on the job is always expanding and includes the identification of annuals and perennials, said Mayberry. There are five main guys who spend most of the work day there and one who takes care of maintenance of the greenhouse.
“It’s kind of nice having your best friend as your boss,” said Mayberry. “This has been home.”
With quite a bit more rain than the previous spring, this year is also looking good for a return of vegetables sold by clients, something which was not offered last year when drought hit the region hard. Additionally, they will now be able to more efficiently manage the sale of items including squash, peppers and tomatoes because of the acquisition of their own walk-in refrigerator.
Much of the joy of the job is helping customers become better gardeners as well, something he attributes to his grandparents love of all things plants. Aside from them always having something planted in their garden, his grandfather knew quite a bit from being the head of the biochemistry department at Oklahoma State University.
Mayberry welcomes contributions from customers, noting how they’ve learned a lot from the people who shop from them passing on wise nuggets occasionally. They even welcome people to set up nearby and sell their own produce if they need a spot and only ask to be notified by phone ahead of time.
“A lot of it is old time methods,” said Mayberry. “If there’s a better way we can help them we’ll do it... It’s just a love of being able to pass on information”
The market also offers items like Koi fish, pond based plants and seasonal changes along the lines of mums in the fall. It is open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, located at 505 S. Walnut St. and can be reached at 405-207-1155.