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Farmers market return brings growers, consumers together again
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Mary Gudino of J & J Ramos Farms of Hughson sells baskets of strawberries to Esmeralda Villalobos and Joanne Foster at Fridays Turlock Certified Farmers Market. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER / The Journal

The start of the Turlock Certified Farmers’ Market was welcome news to Joanne Foster. The City of Turlock employee has been a regular visitor to the downtown market for the past two years, and the opening day of the third season was no exception.

“We come down here on our lunch time,” Foster said. “We come every year and I know on Fridays where I’ll be.”

Foster brought fellow City of Turlock employee Esmeralda Villalobos to Friday’s market.

“I love it, especially since it’s all local business,” Villalobos said while purchasing a basket of strawberries from the J & J Ramos Farms of Hughson produce booth.

Strawberries were the hot seller at the Ramos Farms booth on Friday, said Mary Gudino, although the booth also had oranges, walnuts, almonds, tomatoes and onions for sale.

Judy Cain and her son Isaak Olson came by the market to peruse the fresh produce. Cain gets a box of organic produce delivered to her home every week, but finds the farmers market a good place to pick up extra items.

“I love being able to come out here and buy fresh produce and meet the people who grow it,” she said. “I like to be close to my food.”

John Bava of Bava Farms out of Modesto returned as a vendor for the market’s third season. He is a regular at farmers markets throughout the Valley. He said the traffic at Turlock’s opening day was slow compared to Modesto or Stockton, but he attributed some of that to the many people in the area who already grow their own produce.

Bava said he’d like to see more California State University, Stanislaus students find their way to the downtown farmers market.

“College kids need to be aware of the fresh produce that’s available instead of just going to McDonald’s,” he said.

Along with fresh produce, the market also featured a mix of vendors from Hooked on Cactus — a Merced area business that offers unique hypertufa planter arrangements — to Lisa’s Cookie Creations, which opened the doors to its Broadway bakery on Friday.

Lisa Fernandes said her cookie business started with custom shortbreads, which she sold at farmers markets and online.

“Now, I have a shop with all kinds of cookies,” Fernandes said.

She picked downtown Turlock as the site for her first foray opening a bakery because she liked seeing the old part of town renewed.

Lisa’s Cookie Creations is located at 115 S. Broadway. It is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.