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Ag students get real-world farmers market experience
Stan Fresh pic1
Stanislaus State students Elizabeth Perez and Nolan Nguyen visit the StanFresh Market on Thursday. The farmers market is operated by Ag Studies students, who also grew the fruits and vegetables in the campus' sustainable garden. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal



The next generation of farmers’ market operators are learning the ins and outs of what it takes to successfully run a market through Stanislaus State's field to market program, StanFresh.

"It's pretty fun to see all sides of it, from growing the crops all the way up to selling and trying to get people to the market," said Stanislaus State Agriculture Studies student Rene Zelaya during Thursday's market event, the second of three set for this year.

Started last year, the StanFresh Market offers students, faculty, staff and visitors to the Turlock campus produce harvested from the Stanislaus State Sustainability Garden through a farmers’ market event set up in the quad.

"A lot of people don't realize we have a sustainable garden on campus," said Ag Studies student Brooke Carey.

All Ag students participate in the market one way or another, whether through growing and harvesting the crops or by marketing and running the event.  Last year's inaugural event was such a success that almost every single herb, vegetable and fruit sold out.

On Thursday, the most popular items were kumquats, parsley and blood oranges, which sold out quickly, according to Carey.

Visitors to the StanFresh Market on Thursday could purchase whole tomato plants, carrots, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, cilantro, grapefruits and cut flowers in vases.

Each market features different items, depending on what is ripe that week.

Stanislaus student Elizabeth Perez visited the StanFresh Market to purchase carrots, cucumbers and a blood orange. She said she was excited to hear that there would be a farmers market right on campus.

"I like the idea of students getting involved and actually growing the stuff," said Perez.

New this year at the markets are live cooking demonstrations by the university's food service provider, Chartwells. The cooks prepare different dishes using the fresh ingredients on sale at the market, like the fresh salsa made on Thursday.

The last market of the season will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 4. The public is invited and all transactions are cash only.