Helgoth's Melons and Produce stand at teh Haymarket Farmers' Market
Lauren Helgoth helps a customer at the Haymarket Farmers’ Market on Saturday, Sept. 11. Photo by Olivia Layne McCown/NNS.
With coffee, churros, and a whole lot of melons, vendors come from across Nebraska to sell their products.

Locals know it all too well. The wafting scent of sizzling sausage and fresh produce in the morning air can only mean one thing — the Haymarket Farmers’ Market is underway.

Located in the historical Haymarket in downtown Lincoln, the Farmers’ Market brings vendors from across Nebraska to share their wares. With fresh produce, arts and crafts, and even buffalo meat, you can find almost anything if you look hard enough.

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Sidi Sissoko, founder of LeNoir, sets up his booth at a farmers’ market in Hastings in June. Photo courtesy of Sidi Sissoko.

One of the most recent additions to the market this year is LeNoir. Its founder, Sidi Sissoko, moved to Hastings from San Francisco, California, but he’s originally from Mali, West Africa. A current business administration major at Hastings College, Sissoko started LeNoir on his own in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was very passionate about roasting coffee ever since I was young,” Sissoko said. “So when I came to the United States, I took my passion for coffee to the next level.”

He pitched his idea for a coffee business through his college program and received support from those around him. He said becoming a vendor at the Farmers’ Market has helped him to improve his products by hearing feedback from locals.

“I like interacting with other people,” Sissoko said. “There’s so many people coming and everyone is friendly. People are willing to talk and try the products, and even if they’re not buying anything, they enjoy it, which is great.”

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Antonio Almazán Jr. and Antonio Almazán Sr. fry churros together at the Farmers’ Market. Photo by Olivia Layne McCown/NNS.

Another recent addition to the market is Papi Churros Food Truck. This family-run business is headed by Antonio Almazán Jr. and his father, and based in Lincoln. Their goal is in their name, as they are working up to getting their own food truck. Though this is their first year at the market, Almazán Sr. has been making churros for their church since 1989.

Almazán Sr. first started making churros because he missed the taste of the authentic churros in Mexico. Since nothing in the United States could compare, Almazán Sr. set out to find the perfect recipe.

“We took one whole year to figure it out,” Almazán Sr said. “[We were] testing different recipes every week, and eventually we got it.”

Almazán Sr. worked as a Spanish teacher at Lincoln Southeast High School until recently retiring. He said he didn’t want to be making churros while he was teaching, so after his retirement, he and his family started their business last fall. 

“It’s definitely evolved over time,” Almazán Jr. said. “We went from using the churro press that was hand-powered, to now we have a crank-powered one. And now we have a whole trailer. So it’s definitely grown.”

Papi Churros is still growing and can’t wait until they get their own truck so they can share their food with a bigger community.

“You’re not going to find anything like this, and [I like] just being able to share that with everybody,” Almazán Jr. said. “It’s been a known thing since the late 80s within the Latino community in Lincoln, but now it’s kind of like, the secret’s out.”

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Lauren and Colton Helgoth pose in front of their stock of melons and pumpkins at the Farmers’ Market. Photo by Olivia Layne McCown/NNS.

For the past 25 years, Helgoth’s Melons and Produce has been a vendor at the Haymarket Farmers’ Market. The family business all started with Colton Helgoth’s grandfather in 1954 who started working on their family farm in St. Libory when he was 10 years old.

“It’s just kind of grown through the family,” Lauren Helgoth, Colton’s wife, said. “Right now, my father-in-law and his brother are the ones who run it, and they do all sorts of produce.”

While the Helgoth farm is based in St. Libory, the family has operations across the state. They sell produce at local grocery stores and farmers’ markets in Lincoln, Hastings and David City.

“I’ve only been doing this for four years now,” Lauren said. “But just getting to see the same people every week and kind of build those relationships with them is fun.”

Olivia is a senior Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations major.