Friday marked the end of this year’s season for the Turlock Certified Farmers Market and even though vendors spent the end of the day packing up what was left of their produce, market manager Derek Griffin is already planning next year’s market.
“Next year, I want to implement cooking demos, art days, chili cook-offs, and more themed markets,” said Griffin. “However, I want to stick to what brought us so much success this year and continue doing the things that bring people to the market.”
According to Griffin, this year’s market was by far the most successful and held over 40 vendors at its peak during the summer. The manager credits additional revenue to elements such as the market’s acceptance of Electronic Benefit Transfer (food stamps) and their newly awarded nonprofit status.
Despite their popularity among locals that frequented the farmers market, Ellie and Charley Fernandez of Ellie and Charley’s Natural Garden are still in the talks of returning next year. Having been a vendor with the market since it began, the organic farmers are asking TCFM to consider making the transition to a Saturday market instead.
Based in Patterson, both Ellie and Charley Fernandez believe that they are not reaching as many consumers as they could due to the current market schedule. The market, which takes place on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., is often inaccessible to community members who have work or academic obligations.
“At the end of the day, we always have a lot of excess produce,” said Charley Fernandez. “If you just look at the streets, you can see that they are mostly empty. I know a lot of people can’t make it to a Friday market.”
As market manager, Griffin has heard the organic farmers' concerns loud and clear and plans to survey all of the market’s vendors to determine how many can or cannot make it to a Saturday market.
According to Griffin, a number of his vendors go to the Bay Area on Saturdays to sell their products, and as a result would not be able to make it to TCFM if the day was changed from Friday.
“We’re aware that a lot of members from the Turlock community want to move the market to Saturday,” said Griffin. “However, I cannot make the decision. All I can do is present information to the Board and leave it to them to decide.”