Old Town Clovis Farmers Market opened for the season
The Old Town Clovis Farmers Market opened for the season on May 11, 2012, to great acclaim! The crowds were large for this first Market and people lined the streets waiting to hear, and dance to, the Brad Wilson Band, the first of the series for KSEE/24 Concerts at the OTC Farmers Market. KSEE/24 Concerts will be the 2nd Tuesday of each month and a schedule of bands is located at Farmers Market Band Schedule 2012.
We have many returning Certified Producers, Simonian Farms, Sumner-Peck, Shasky Farms, Annie’s Produce, Boujikian Farms and Mao Farms to name a few, as well as a few new ones to add to the mix, such as Benzler Farms (our only Certified Organic producer), Faith Farms, who will be bringing in corn, and Richo Farms who sells sugar cane teas. We also have our returning food vendors, Yosemite Concessions, Salsa’s Restaurant, Bobby Salazar’s, Corner Café and Mattie’s Pizza. Returning specialties and gourmet folks Glacier Bay Shave Ice, Good Time Kettle Korn, Sanchez Corn, Scoops, Soups & More, Raisin Dough, Bakery, Deleo Olive Oil (and pasta), Dairy Goddess, Baba’s Foods and My Little Cupcake. We have added several new specialty vendors, i.e. Country Beef Jerkey, Lumpia Hut, P*De*Q, and Melanie’s Cookies.
The Old Town Clovis Farmers Market is also supporting the NOSH Program – “To Provide, To Nourish, To Give”. This is basically an “eat one-give one” program that helps to provide nourishing fresh fruits and vegetables to families in need distributed through five Clovis pantries. Visitors to the Market can purchase extra produce at any of the Grower booths and deposit the donations in the Fresh N Easy provided shopping carts located next to the information booth. We are very thankful to the Farmers who, at the end of the night, donate hundreds of pounds of fruits and vegetables to this wonderful cause. We hope businesses and individuals will help support the program as well.
Our information booth is located between 4th and 5th Streets on Pollasky Avenue and passersby can stop and buy our new Farmers Market t-shirts or ask a variety of questions to our staff who man the booth.
Following we have compiled a list of Farmers Market “insider information” to help you get the most out of your Friday night experience:
Go early but not too early!
The best stuff goes fast. A farmer may only have a single flat of ripe, juicy blackberries or a couple of pounds of fresh green peas, so arrive early to make sure you get the best pick of the market’s high-demand, seasonal fruits and vegetables. Take care, though, not to go too early: the Old Town Clovis Farmers Market does not allow sales prior to 5:30pm and the sale you ask the farmer to make early may very well slow down set-up thus reducing the sales she or he can make later.
Go late, but not too late!
Farmers may discount their produce toward the end of the day. No one wants to cart a half case of unsold tomatoes or peaches back to the farm where they have row after row ready for another harvest. If your budget is tight, attending late may yield the best deals.
Bring your own bags & baskets!
Many vendors don’t supply customers with disposable bags. By bringing your own bags, you reduce waste at the market and in your own home. Plus, there’s just something exceptionally beautiful about a basket brimming with bright green lettuce, dark red cherries, orange apricots and other lovely fruits and vegetables.
Bring a cooler!
Good markets offer considerably more than fruits and vegetables. At the Old Town Clovis Farmers Market you’ll find milk, cheese, perishable foods and ready-to-eat items that require refrigeration. By bringing a cooler, you can keep fresh foods that need to be kept cool cold and go back to spend more time at the market – listening to music, watching the kids participate in children’s activities or dining at one of the concessionaire’s stands. This way your lettuce won’t go limp, your berries won’t melt and your milk won’t spoil.
Bring cash and small bills!
By bringing cash and small bills (plenty of 5s and 1s), you’ll spend less time checking out and more time shopping. By bringing cash and – specifically – small bills, you make it easier for vendors to make change for the masses of folks who bring nothing but $20 bills from the nearby ATM.
Buy enough for the week!
You will want plan ahead so that you can buy enough fresh produce to last you until the next Market. Making a menu for the coming week is handy, or you could just make a list of what you know your family will need. Come out every Friday night to replenish your produce and fruit supply!
Buy the ugly stuff!
So, perfect fruit and veggies that we see in photographs are not the norm. So purchasing fruits and vegetables at a Farmers Market you’ll find imperfect items. This is OK. Fruits and vegetables taste the same, if not better; they just may look imperfect! Life is not perfect! Fruits and veggies that are not photo perfect does not mean they don’t taste as good. Most of the “perfect” fruit and veggies are picked early and shipped around the country; they may look pretty but often don’t taste as good as produce and fruit picked the day of our Farmers Market! So count your blessings . . . you live in the heart of the Valley and benefit from fruits and veggies that may not always look perfect but taste delicious!
Know the crop calendar!
You’d laugh if you knew how often we have to field a question on why boysenberries aren’t at the Market or why the cherry farmers aren’t there any longer. Part of the pleasure of shopping at the Old Town Clovis Farmers Market is developing an appreciation of fresh, local foods at the height of their natural season. If you’re unsure when apricots will be in season or when the snap peas will stop producing ask the Farmers directly! They are a wealth of information. Celebrate your market and your local farmers. Buy fresh, buy local and buy in season.
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