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Ripon farmers market big hit with consumers for 2nd straight season
Steven Silva gives Jeanne Hoekman an update on the fresh fruits and vegetables that are available and currently in-season. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

RIPON – Jim DeBruyn came all the way from Michigan to spend time with his son at his Ripon home.

But on Thursday night he simply couldn’t get enough of the quaint atmosphere and the fresh offerings at the Ripon Farmers Market in the parking lot of the old Mar-Val Food store.

From the just-picked watermelons to the dozens of varieties of hummus brought from a San Leandro company, DeBruyn said that he was so glad to have the opportunity to be at an event where not only was sense of community prevalent but also varieties you don’t find everywhere.

“Everything here is fresh and you get to taste a lot of different varieties that you don’t really find a whole lot of places,” DeBruyn said at the hummus table. “I’ve got some hard choices to make, but I’m going to take some of this back to the family and hope that they like it. I know that I’m going to.”

From 4 to 7 p.m. every Thursday, vendors from throughout the South County bring their homegrown wares to the market and put them on display for Ripon residents that appreciate the one-stop convenience that the small but friendly gathering offers.

While the late spring rains pushed back the harvest on some crops, most have been available since early July – giving growers more than a steady month of sales before the market concludes next Thursday.

Linda Boek made sure that she got some of her shopping done on Thursday to kill two birds with one stone.

“What I like about this is that there’s fresh produce and you really get the chance to help local farmers that supply the markets here,” she said. “I also think that it fosters a sense of community, and that’s really nice.”

Joanna Sanchez said there wasn’t anything that was going to stop her from getting her fruits and vegetables on Thursday afternoon. She’s been coming since the first week, and isn’t looking forward to the end of the season.

“You really don’t get produce that’s this fresh at supermarkets, and everybody out here is just so friendly and nice,” she said. “The fresh ingredients really make a difference when it comes to what you’re cooking. I’m kind of sad that I’m going to be missing out on those after next week. I’ll have to start looking for other markets.”

The Ripon Farmers Market is held Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. in the parking lot of the old Mar-Val Foods store near the corner of Wilma Avenue and Main Street. The market will conclude on Thursday, Aug. 11.