The Turlock Certified Farmers Market came to a close on Friday, finishing a summer-long run of food, fruit, and fun.
The market was packed to the gills for its final night, with activities for costumed children, a DJ, and local dance troupes providing entertainment. But behind all the smiling, laughing guests, the vendors looked more pensive.
“It’s always sad to be the last day,” said Robin Carr of Riley’s Kettlecorn.
Carr’s comments were echoed around the market, with many vendors saying the night seemed bittersweet – though some noted it would be nice to sleep in on Friday mornings.
Almost universally, vendors said they had a great year, thanks to the core regulars who shop every week. The young market has earned fans from outside the area, too.
“I love Turlock. I think it is the most interesting place in California,” said Kurt Soulek, of San Leandro-based Hummus Heaven. Through his job, the Oakland resident visits a different farmers market nearly every day of the week.
Soulek said he loves downtown Turlock, with its eclectic mix of antique shops, tattoo parlors, and brew pubs. And he loves the kind, real people here, unlike in the Bay Area where every third question is, “is it organic?”
Soulek said he’s staked his claim on the Turlock market next year. But he hopes business doesn’t drop off as it did this year; according to Soulek, the market was about 80 percent slower after the school year started up.
Carr agreed that business seemed down in this, her third year of selling at the market. But she attributed that decline to an overall down economy, and expects a rebound in year four.
“This market can be just as good as the Modesto Market, and that’s been around about 30 years,” Carr said.
Already, the market is making strides, according to Market Manager Lauren Camarata. She pointed to the market’s ability to attract new vendors in its third year, while still retaining a focus on local foods and crafts.
Next year, Camarata hopes to grow the market by another 10 to 20 percent with the ever-present help of the community.
“I think we had a really successful third year,” Camarata said.