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Downtown Manteca farmers market a wrap for 2012
Dan Luque picks out a cluster of grapes he plans on taking home stocking up on fresh fruit at the last outing of the 2012 season. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

Gloria Morones needed her fix of farm fresh produce.

It had been a month since she visited the Downtown Manteca Farmer’s Market. She snuck in just under the wire when she made it Tuesday evening.  It is the last day of the summer-long session that draws thousands of people to Library Park for whatever in-season offerings happen to be hot at the time.

When her grandson was younger, Morones said, bouncing from booth-to-booth and taking in the community atmosphere was a weekly occurrence.

Tuesday’s trip, however, was sparked by the fact that she hadn’t been in a while and wanted to see what was available – opting for the white corn as she browsed for other offerings.

“It was a big thing for our family to come out here – my grandson loved it,” she said. “Today I was thinking that I hadn’t been in a while and that I’d go see what I could find. I love having something like this in our community.”

While the crowd Tuesday was visibly smaller than it has been in previous weeks, it still brought out people like Chris Hunter who make it a point to stop in weekly and stock up on the things that he either can’t find in a grocery store or he’d rather buy directly from farmers.

There’s just something, he says, about the farm fresh flavor that you can’t get at a supermarket.

“Sometimes you get things that are fresh, but you can literally get something here that was picked this morning. That’s quality,” he said. “I love to cook so when you start with an ingredient like that, you’re already a step ahead.”

For Merced’s William Yang, Tuesday was a chance to cut his teeth with a whole new customer base – even it was a group of customers that he would have to wait until next year to get to develop a relationship with.

It’s one of the more unfortunate parts of the job, he says, since people at the seasonal festivals are often so excited to get their hands on quality products like those grown by his family’s Yang Farms label.

“My sister is usually the one who comes out here and she’s the one who knows everybody – getting to talk with the people is what makes this a lot of fun,” he said. “When you go to a new town and you don’t know anybody, it’s those people that help you out and make you feel at home. Letting that go is the rough part.”

The market is sponsored by the Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau.