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Biggest start yet for farmers market
See Yang from Yang Farms prepares strawberries for customers Tuesday at the first Manteca Farmer’s Market of the summer. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
It might have only been the first Downtown Farmer’s Market of the year, but the dozen farms represented enjoyed the best start that the weekly outdoor summer event has had since it was rekindled by the Manteca Convention and Visitors Bureau several years ago.

Thanks to mild temperatures, hundreds of people filled the main throughway across from Library Park to browse the wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables that included everything from red ripe strawberries and early-season peaches to bok choy and green beans.
According to Dawn Burkhardt of DePalma Farms in Ripon, the cherries were the biggest draw of the day for the crowds that she thought were remarkably large for the first day of the summer season here in Manteca.

“The crowds today have been great, but that’s kind of what you expect when you come to a place like Manteca,” Burkhardt said. “Manteca is a very supportive community when it comes to things like this, and it was good to see so many people outside enjoying themselves.”

Further up the line of small family farms, See Yang spent the latter part of the afternoon restocking the strawberries that customers had been swooping up for the first hour of the event.

She too felt that the crowds were good for the first day of a two-month run, and looks forward to the coming weeks when more and more people start to make the Tuesday afternoon event a regular part of their week once word begins to spread.

“For the first day we definitely had a lot of people,” said Yang – noting that the strawberries and the green beans were the big sellers for the Yang Farms booth. “The crowd normally builds up each and every week, so that gives us something to look forward to.”

Manteca Convention and Visitors Bureau Events Manager John Heath said he was blown away by the dozen farmers who set up booths during the first week – far surpassing the relatively small turnout that they had last year at the start of the summer season.

With themed weeks still in the works, Heath said that residents will have plenty to look forward to when it comes to both special events and entertainment as the summer progresses.

“Early in the day we had a lot of people out here, and we had a lot of farmers that set up shop today,” Heath said. “That really bodes well for us to see that at this point, and gives us reason to be excited about the future.”

The weekly farmers market continues every Tuesday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays through the end of August.