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Ripon offers small, cozy farmers market
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Hometown Sweets farmers market booth headed by mom Rala Alves and her home baking daughters Kasie, 11, and Dalsin, 15, offer their best in cinnamon, zucchini and banana breads along with their toffee cookies, cheesecake and brownies. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Stouffer’s Park in Ripon provides a lush green carpet for the Thursday farmers market from 4 to 7:30 p.m.

While there were only 13 vendors, the crowd was small but constant with a light breeze through the afternoon making it very comfortable.

The “green” grass of the park was an added plus to allow children to play and stretch out on the lawn while their parents shopped the booths for every kind of fruit produced in the Central Valley. 

Those included nectarines, peaches, squash, figs, apricots and Mediterranean foods, along with unique bread choices and other treats to name a few. Most of the vendors were from local farms and few from out of the area. Breads included cinnamon, zucchini and banana. 

The farmers market was originally set up in a hot parking lot near a local market at Main Street and Wilma Avenue. It was moved to East Main Street in the downtown several years ago, but still on a shade less location without effective tree shade. And finally it was moved to Stouffer Park off of Manley Drive with its abundance of lawn, trees and bushes providing a contrasting background.

One standout Thursday was the “Hometown Sweets” booth operated by Rala Alves and her two daughters Kasie, 11, and Dalsin, 15. The girls have been learning the art of pastries baking from their grandmother through their mother – all of whom had endless smiles.

Gerald Harrema and his wife Donna quickly found large apricots – an important choice for both of them. The Harremas once owned and operated the Blue Light Restaurant and Café on the Highway 99 Frontage Road in Ripon. Gerald is also known to Ripon residents for his duties as a staffer at Schemper’s ACE Hardware.

The movie planned at dusk, Mary Poppins, had to be cancelled due to the wind but is rescheduled for next Thursday (June 25) night at Stouffer Park.

Members of the Ripon Police Department SWAT team were also on hand to mingle with the Ripon citizenry along with Chief Ed Ormonde and the department’s emergency SWAT vehicle.