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Northern San Joaquin Valley farmers markets highlight produce, unique items

Turlock, Patterson among communities with fresh produce options for buyers

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Northern San Joaquin Valley farmers markets highlight produce, unique items

Scenes from the Patterson Farmers Market.

KRISTINA HACKER/The 209


POSTED May 12, 2012 1:20 a.m.

California produces nearly half of all U.S. grown fruits, nuts and vegetables — the majority of which is grown right here in the Central Valley. Valley residents don’t have to go far to get their hands on the best the Valley has to offer, as farmers’ markets have opened for another season.

Two southern Stanislaus County markets that offer fresh local produce, along with tasty baked goods and unique crafted items every week are The Turlock Certified Farmers’ Market, open Fridays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Broadway in downtown Turlock; and the Patterson Farmers’ Market, open Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 1040 Las Palmas Ave.

The Turlock Certified Farmers’ Market is marking its third year, and will feature several new vendors and some returning favorites.

“Word of mouth is spreading and we are bringing in more vendors and sponsors,” said market manager Lauren Camarata. “We’re pretty excited about what we have to offer.”

Visitors can purchase fresh produce from J & J Ramos Farms out of Hughson and Bava Farms out of Modesto or a bag of locally grown nuts from Grandpa Wright’s Almonds. Hummus Heaven, Doc’s Ribs and Edith’s Baking Co. have returned for another year to offer salty and sweet treats.

New vendors to Turlock’s downtown market include a coffee roaster, an organic egg vendor and Lisa’s Cookie Jar.

In addition to the fresh produce and homemade goodies, the market will be bringing in local entertainment and street performers. The Turlock farmers’ market also has four night events scheduled, with the first one set for June 8.

Patterson hosts a weekly evening market at the True Value Shopping Center, across from the community center. Although small, local vendors such as Sunblest Orchards out of Patterson are featured, the market also draws producers such as Las Hermanas Organics out of Hollister and V. Mendoza Berries from Watsonville.

Victoria Chaparro from Las Hermanas said the opening week of the Patterson market was busy, but she hoped as the summer progresses even more people will hear about the farmers’ market and come by. On Wednesday, Las Hermanas had a large supply of chards and kale for sale, along with carrots, radishes and celery. Chaparro said the offerings will change as the harvests come in and they only offer what is fresh.

“We pick (the produce) out the day of or the day before the farmers’ market, so it’s very fresh,” she said.

Although Burch Bees is out of Modesto, the honey for sale at the farmers’ market is even more local.

“We have honey from Patterson and our bees are in Patterson, so it’s really local,” said Sheila Burch of Burch Bees.

On Wednesday, wildflower and orange blossom honey was for sale, however, just like produce, the offerings will change throughout the season.

A popular booth on Wednesday was V. Mendoza Berries. Strawberries were on offer — vibrant red, ripe and ready for eating. This is the third year the Watsonville berry grower has had a booth at the Patterson market.

“It’s fun to support the farmers’ market,” said Joseph Mendoza.

He said the booth will get very busy when they have boysenberries, raspberries and blackberries for sale.

Cindy Sierra and Connie Debler were delighted to be at the Patterson market on Wednesday.

“We love it,” said Sierra. “We come every year, every Wednesday.”

The two market regulars were tasting and buying selections from Jo’s Bread. Josephine Napoli and her daughter Anna Napoli bring tasty selections from a boutique bakery in Seaside to the Patterson farmers’ market.

The Napolis started coming to the Patterson market two years ago because they saw a need for fresh bread and Josephine said she needed something to do.

“I’m retired and there’s nothing worse than being retired and bored,” she joked.

KRISTINA HACKER

209 staff reporter

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