• MANTECA: The Manteca farmers market is from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays through the end of August at Library Park.
• LATHROP: The Lathrop farmers market is from 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays through October in the Target parking lot at Louise Avenue and River Island Parkway.
• RIPON: The Ripon farmers market is at Stouffer Park from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through July 17. From Manteca, take Highway 99 south to Main Street exit and turn left. Turn left after crossing the freeway onto East Main Street and travel to Stouffer Park.
Arthur Thompson likes fresh.
And he doesn’t like having to dig to find it.
All too often, Thompson said, getting to the really good produce at the grocery store requires picking through the stuff that’s been on the shelf the longest. Carrots that are piled high in their bins. Radishes that are toppling out onto the floor.
On Tuesday he got the chance to skip that whole process at the first weekly Manteca Farmer’s Market of the summer was staged by the Manteca Convention and Visitors Bureau at Library Park. It is a summer staple, he said, that gives him the chance to get the best greens that the Central Valley has to offer all in one place.
“When you go to the store you really have to dig down. You don’t have to do that here – you know what no matter what you pick up it’s going to be fresh,” he said. “It’s locally grown and it’s fresh picked and it’s here every week. I love it.”
The weekly lineup will change between now and the end of August when fruit and food vendors from throughout Central and Northern California will carry their in-season wares. Items like leafy greens and strawberries were plentiful on Tuesday. Sweet corn typically becomes more popular later in the season.
Marco Huerta said that while he might pay a little bit more for some of the fruits and vegetables he gets from the farmer’s market, knowing that it was picked fresh – sometimes that morning – is worth a little bit of extra money out of his wallet.
“You can smell how fresh the vegetables are. Each one individually,” he said. “It’s not like a produce department where it’s everything at once. Where else can you get that but right here in California where it’s all grown?
“I’ll pay more for that.”
The weekly event also includes free entertainment and food vendors.