LOCAL FARMERS MARKETS
• TUESDAYS: The Manteca farmers market is from 4:30 to 8 p.m. and runs through Aug. 30 on the plaza near the water fountain in front of the Showplace Theater across from Bass Pro Shops in The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley, Union Road and the 120 Bypass.
• THURSDAYS: The Ripon farmers market is from 4 to 7 p.m. through Aug. 11. From Manteca, take Highway 99 south to the Jack Tone Road exit and turn right. Travel to Main Street and turn left. The market is in the center on the left.
With so many choices in front of her, Amber McKinney was almost overwhelmed when browsing the vendor booths in front of the AMC Showplace Cinemas Tuesday afternoon.
Such is life for a customer at the first day of the Manteca Farmer’s Market, where more than a dozen local farms showcased their fresh fruit and vegetables to give shoppers like McKinney the chance to buy items that were picked that morning.
Whether it was cherries, strawberries, string beans or cabbage, farm vendors had an abundance of offerings for both longtime customers coming back for the start of another season and those just passing by who wanted to stop in and try something different.
“I really do appreciate the farm fresh fruits and vegetables, and being able to shop for them out here without having to go to a traditional grocery store,” she said. “It’s nice to have all of these vendors here in one place, and with the samples that they give out you know what you’re getting before you make the purchase. It’s great.”
Dozens of people made the walk through the heart of the promenade – past the farm booths and into the section where traditional vendors offered everything from vegetable plants to hologram-encrusted wristbands.
The crowd was good enough for Yer Yeng – a four-year veteran of the Manteca Farmer’s Market – who was busy bagging the fruits and vegetables that she brought up from her family farm in Merced.
“What I like most about this event are the people that we get to meet. They’re all so friendly and that makes it a lot of fun,” Yeng said. “Business has always been pretty good for us. This is the first year in the new location, so we’ll have to see what it’s like as we go on, but it’s good today so far.”
One shopper – Scott Hoskins – says that this is his favorite time of year to cook and prepare things for friends because he’s able to get his hands on the freshest ingredients grown from local farmers who care about the products that they produce.
He had already purchased a flat of strawberries, a bag of cherries and a crate of blueberries and was back picking up fresh greens he planned on incorporating into dinner over the course of the next week.
“This is stuff that’s way fresher than you can get it at the grocery store,” he said. “And a lot of times you can get much better deals here. I love when farmer’s market season comes back around, and I’ll be here every week until the season closes.”
The market is every Tuesday from 4:30 to 8 p.m. through Aug. 30.