Looking for a midweek respite from your usual evening routine?
Then you might want to consider dropping by the Downtown Manteca Certified Farmers Market on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Library Park.
There are larger farmers markets. There are Saturday farmers markets such as the one in Pleasanton that is wedded with a destination-style downtown complete with plenty of outdoor dining to combine breakfast or lunch plus specialty stores with shopping for fresh produce and bakery goods.
But when it comes to the ability to kick back with your family and friends the Manteca market is in a league of its own.
It starts with a true park setting. Stately sycamore trees provide shade while cooling Delta winds rustle leaves and chase away the day’s heat.
It is the only outdoor farmers market in the Northern San Joaquin Valley - and most of the Bay Area - where the vendors are almost all under a canopy of mature shade making the shopping experience even more enjoyable.
There are always a dozen or so farmers as well as fresh -baked goods vendors to address the primary reason for stopping by the market.
Other vendors run the gamut from ready-to-eat food booths to clothing and crafts to non-profits offering information.
The booths can be found lining Manteca Avenue as well as in the park. As a result, two newer playground areas are smack dab in the middle of the action. There’s plenty of grass to sit on or throw down a blanket for an impromptu picnic.
Free weekly entertainment is provided at the gazebo with its 75-seat amphitheater and grass seating as well.
There is also an interactive play feature for kids that is temporarily out of commission.
The park also has other touches such as five commissioned murals depicting Manteca’s history, people, and farm bounty.
And while it may not seem like a huge plus, there are real bathrooms at the park. Most farmers markets either have none or rely on portable toilets.
Yu can combine your trip to the farmers’ market with dinner at several nearby downtown Manteca restaurants.
A small but growing number of folk are using the Tidewater Bikeway connected with separated bike paths that reach as far as the Woodward Park and Del Webb neighborhoods to bicycle to and from the farmers market.
The market is staged by the Manteca Visitors Center and the Downtown Manteca Business Association.
It takes place every Tuesday in June, July and August.
For more information call 823-7229.
— By DENNIS WYATT
209 staff reporter