Farmers market opens near Modesto's airport neighborhood

pguerra@modbee.comJune 29, 2013 

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    alternate text Patty Guerra
    Title: Breaking news editor
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    Bio: Patty Guerra has been an editor and reporter at The Modesto Bee for 13 years. She has a journalism degree from Fresno State and previously worked at the Turlock Journal and Merced Sun-Star.
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— It's not quite the bustling marketplace that takes place each Thursday and Saturday downtown, but a new farmers market is intended to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to one of Modesto's neediest neighborhoods.

The East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District received a grant to bring a biweekly farmers market to Modesto's airport neighborhood. It is conducted every other Friday at the Airport District Community Center on Empire Avenue.

Two vendors were on hand this week, offering everything from eggs to honey to peppers to cactus. They didn't have a big crowd of customers, partly because the market is new and partly because the nearby school is out for the summer. That wasn't the case at the first market two weeks ago.

Friday's searing heat, already making itself known at 8:30 a.m., didn't help.

The idea, said Jamie McFarlin, resource conservation technician for the district, is to connect area farmers to local customers. The district worked in conjunction with the city of Modesto in deciding to put the market in the airport neighborhood, which doesn't have as much access to fresh fruits and vegetables as other areas of town.

McFarlin said much of the traffic has been walk-up, meaning area residents stopping by to pick up some items.

Hopefully, business will pick up so the vendors continue to bring their produce.

"We don't charge a vending fee, but there are no other incentives," McFarlin said.

The market runs every other Friday, 8:30 a.m. to noon, at the community center, 805 Empire Ave. Upcoming dates are July 12 and 26 and Aug. 9 and 23.

Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at pguerra@modbee.com or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter @pattyguerra.

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