When the lights go down in Turlock, many residents moan there’s little to do.
But this Friday evening, downtown Turlock will come alive with a nighttime edition of the Turlock Certified Farmers’ Market.
The market is traditionally held on Friday mornings, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., May 4 through Oct. 26. But on some first Fridays the market starts again in time for twilight shopping, running from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
This Friday, the third night market of the year will shut down Broadway, between West Olive Avenue and A Street, offering attendees a chance to buy the fruits and vegetables that they may have missed out on due to work and other daytime commitments.
“We understand that a lot of people can’t visit us during the day,” said Lauren Camarata, market manager.
But perhaps more importantly, the night market provides a different atmosphere than the standard morning market, according to vendors.
“It’s a good, different crowd,” said Yates McCallum, owner of local coffee roaster Turlock Coffee, which runs a booth at the market.
The younger, leisurely crowds, make the evening market feel like more of a social event than the morning market, McCallum said. As attendees stroll, Turlock’s downtown takes on the feel of an urban environment, where residents are often out and about to browse vendors’ wares.
Some of those vendors differ from the morning market, with the night market adding additional food options like brick-oven pizza, Asian spring rolls, and cupcakes. Musicians also play, adding to the ambiance.
Despite the different type of crowd, the evening market has been profitable for candy-makers Legacy Toffee. Erica Fleming, owner of ethnic food stand Persian Peasant, said the different crowd has actually been a positive.
“There are a lot more people who are here for dinner,” Fleming said.
Fleming described scores of couples, out for a fresh-cooked meal or snack. That’s despite the sweltering summer heat which plagued the first two night markets; the forecast for Friday’s market is more manageable, with temperatures likely below 90 degrees.
Saucy Girls Jackie Taha and Kari Hernandez, a mother-daughter team who produce sliders using locally-sourced ingredients and signature sauces, hope the market draws lots of hungry customers. The food stand is a recent addition to the farmers’ market, which missed the first two night markets.
The duo is, essentially, using the market as a test run for an under-construction food truck. Sales have been brisk during the daytime, Hernandez said, but Friday’s market will be the Saucy Girls’ first test of selling street food in the evening.
“We don’t know what to expect,” Hernandez said. “But we’re excited.”