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Lathrop man’s real home-grown business

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Lathrop man’s real home-grown business

Duane Aul takes a closer look at some eggplant before putting it out for customers.


POSTED July 1, 2009 3:42 a.m.
Duane Aul didn’t have an endless supply of rows to plant his crops.

But despite the relatively closed-in confines of Aul’s Lathrop backyard, the green thumb still managed to end up with an impressive assortment of vegetables and spices that he offered this Tuesday for the first time at the Manteca Farmer’s Market.

With mature tomato plants ready to be transplanted and eggplant bushes also sprouting the purple fruit waiting to attract the attention of customers, Aul’s booth quickly became the visible proof that you don’t need a full-sized farm in order to create an ample supply of food and spices.

“So far today I’ve really enjoyed being out here,” Aul said while he was putting the finishing touches on the stand what would soon be overrun with customers. “What’s great about this is that you get the chance to run into a lot of people in the community that you don’t see on a regular basis, and that’s definitely worth coming out for.”

Across the thoroughfare Dawn Sanders of DePalma Farms supervised the set-up of one of the fair’s largest booths – a multiple tent conglomerate that offers everything from peaches, nectarines, apricots, and cherries to the sweet white corn that becomes a staple at summer barbecues this time of year.

While it takes some time to get the massive booth ready for customers, Sanders routinely travels throughout Northern California doing just that at various Farmer’s Markets and has pretty got the ropes down – whether it’s a trip to San Francisco, Escalon, or Davis.

It’s in Manteca, however, that Sanders says she gets the chance to mingle with repeat customers that have been dedicated to the DePalma booth ever since the Farmer’s Market was brought back several years ago.

“I love talking to people, and seeing the same customers coming back week-after-week really makes it worthwhile,” she said. “We always get pretty good crowds, and when you get to know the customers that are shopping your booth you get to know what it is that they like – and then you’re able to make suggestions that they’re happy with.

“Manteca is a great market for a lot of reasons, and the people have a big part in making it what it is today.”
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