Turlock Certified Farmers Market kicks off season

mrowland@modbee.comMay 3, 2013 

    alternate textMarijke Rowland
    Title: Arts & Entertainment Writer
    Coverage areas: Fine arts, pop culture and other entertainment throughout the Central Valley and foothills.
    Bio: Marijke Rowland has been a reporter at The Bee for 15 years. She grew up in the Midwest and has a degree in journalism from Indiana University. She has covered several beats at The Bee from education to entertainment to employment.
    Recent stories written by Marijke
    On Twitter: @marijkerowland
    E-mail: mrowland@modbee.com

— A casual crowd came down to celebrate and shop at the opening of the Turlock Certified Farmers Market's 2013 season Friday morning.

The downtown event kicked off its fourth season in a slightly shifted location and with some new booths and faces. Some 30 vendors ranging from produce farms to specialty sellers and more lined the walkways along South Broadway.

"We come here every week when it's open because it's so close," said Delhi resident Darilyn Sharp, who shopped with her family Friday morning.

This year the market, which was relaunched downtown in 2010, moved a block to the south and now runs from West Main to A Street. Previously, it also ran along Broadway, but straddled the busy downtown thoroughfare of Main Street to extend to West Olive Avenue.

The move pleased shoppers and vendors, who appreciated not having to worry about crossing traffic.

"This is nice here," said Darin Bava, with Modesto's Bava Farms, who was selling tomatoes and other produce. "It's nice to get away from Main Street."

New market manager Derek Griffin took over this year from former manager Brandon Follett, who is now a market board member. Griffin has been with the organization since it started and said he hopes to focus on healthy eating and living this season.

He has been reaching out to fitness organizations and groups around town about putting up booths. He also hopes to pull together a 5K fun run and walk in September to encourage family activity.

The market will partner with event sponsor California State University, Stanislaus, and have a "University Day" in September to promote the campus and its offerings.

And again this year, there will be four night markets that will run 4 to 8 p.m. on June 7, July 5, Sept. 6 and Oct. 25.

For its first day, Griffin said he was pleased with the light crowd, which ebbed and flowed through the morning and early afternoon. He hopes with the larger street area, he will be able to add up to 15 to 20 vendors as the market season goes on.

Patterson-based organic produce sellers Ellie and Charley Fernandez have been at the Turlock market the past three seasons; it's the only place they sell outside their home business.

"The people here are very friendly and it's a laid-back kind of market," Ellie Fernandez said.

Shaney Perez stopped by with her 4-year-old daughter, Cadence, to shop and eat. The Turlock resident never had been to the market before, but already knew it wouldn't be her last time.

"I like it," she said. "I like all the fresh fruit and veggies. So, yeah, I'll be back."

The Turlock Certified Farmers Market runs 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays through October. For more, go to www.turlockmarket.org.

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on www.twitter.com/turlocknow.

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