Turlock

Turlock farmers market, once pushed out of Main Street spot, returns. Did customers?

See the Turlock farmers market’s return to Main Street

The Turlock Certified Farmers Market returned to downtown after three seasons away. It had been forced to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds after a rival market applied for its Main Street space.
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The Turlock Certified Farmers Market returned to downtown after three seasons away. It had been forced to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds after a rival market applied for its Main Street space.

The shade, the strollers and the smiles were all back as the Turlock Certified Farmers Market returned to its downtown roots Saturday after three seasons away.

The nonprofit market had relocated to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in 2016 after conceding its original Main Street location to a rival for-profit market that had applied for the space in a contentious move that riled many in the community. The other market only lasted one shortened season on Main Street before moving to the small Central Park nearby and changing its time to Thursday nights.

Turlock Certified Farmers Market Manager Derek Griffin said they returned, despite still doing well at the fairgrounds, because of community demand. He said downtown’s shade and the surrounding businesses help make it special. The market will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Main Street from Palm to Center streets until Sept. 28.

“The Turlock community definitely wanted us back,” Griffin said on opening day of the market’s 10th anniversary season. “We’ve always belonged downtown, we started the market here.”

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The Turlock Certified Farmers Market returned to Main Street in downtown Turlock, Calif. May 4, 2019. Marijke Rowland mrowland@modbee.com

But before coming back, Griffin and other market representatives surveyed downtown businesses to see if they would be welcomed back. He said the response was overwhelmingly positive. George Kosmas, who owns Crust & Crumb on Main Street, said his sales double on market days.

Kosmas has also had his own booth, Edith’s Bakery, at the market for several years selling breads and other baked goods. He said the difference being downtown is all the support from the other local businesses.

“There’s a real sense of community downtown,” he said. “People like that they can shop here and support the local community in many different ways.”

Griffin said the market is starting with 46 vendors, which should grow as more produce comes into season. But one thing he has cut back on is prepared food vendors, because of all the local restaurants lining the market’s streets and nearby.

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Lauren Rice and her service dog Chanel shop during opening day of Turlock Certified Farmers Market and its return to Main Street in downtown Turlock, Calif. May 4, 2019. Marijke Rowland mrowland@modbee.com

But shoppers didn’t seem to mind, and in fact most were thrilled it was back. The move was the frequent topic of overheard conversations at various stalls. The market bustled with visitors, as hundreds descended on the downtown area to shop and stroll.

“We just like the downtown atmosphere so much better,” said Turlock resident Matt Anderson, who shopped the market with his family. “I don’t mind parking a little further away to be able to come here. It’s just a great place.”

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Marijke Rowland writes about new business, restaurant and retail developments. She has been with The Modesto Bee since 1997 covering a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. Her Business Beat column runs midweek and Sundays. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.

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