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Farmers Market opens for 2014 season
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Kylie Kaur browses produce options at the J and J Farms booth during the first Turlock Certified Farmers Market of the 2014 season. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal

Despite the heat, downtown Turlock was bustling with shoppers on Friday morning as locals congregated to check out the first Turlock Certified Farmers Market of the 2014 season.

“It’s been a good opening day, larger than last year’s and we’ve just got an overall larger presence this year,” said market manager Derek Griffin.

Contributing to the market’s growth are a variety of vendors that have been added to cater to shoppers' needs. This year, the market is playing host to nine new vendors, three of which meet Griffin’s goal of selling meat, eggs and coffee – products that consumers have not been able to find at the Turlock market until this year.

Wolfsen’s Meat and Sausage of Gustine is offering marinated beef and chicken ready to throw on the grill, while farm fresh eggs will also be available for purchase to make a summer frittata full of fresh vegetables from nearby stands. Local coffee is also available for purchase from Friday’s Grind for customers to sip as they browse the vendors.  Other new vendors include Valeria’s Gift, Holstein’s Dog Treats and Ketsher Garden, which is a “farm to fork” produce practice grown by the students of Pitman High School Garden Club to teach them the growing and selling process.  So far the market has been successful at retaining clientele, as well as drawing newcomers.

“It’s my first time here but I really like all of the produce and the bakery too, because it’s fresh,” said Kylie Kaur as she browsed the produce at J and J Farms.

The Farmers Market will also host several themed evenings later in the season including a Kids Day and California State University, Stanislaus Night at the market. These themes will recur along with a “Meet the Candidates” market for locals to meet local City Council and mayoral candidates, and a Bike to the Market event where locals can meet at a location to collectively bike to the market. There will also be a bike parking valet to watch people’s bikes while they shop for their goods.

On May 23 an EBT machine will also make shopping available for those who use food stamps, and several more vendors will be coming in future weeks as produce comes into season.

The Turlock Farmers Market takes place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the intersection of Main Street and Broadway Avenue in downtown Turlock from May through October. There will also be three night markets this year in addition to the morning markets, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on June 13, Sept. 5 and Oct. 24.