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Farmers market turns over a new leaf
Market opens Friday for season
farmers market pic1
Mary Gudino of J & J Ramos Farms of Hughson sells baskets of strawberries to Esmeralda Villalobos and Joanne Foster at the Turlock Certified Farmers Market in May 2012. - photo by Journal file photo

Since it was revived in 2010, the Turlock Certified Farmers’ Market has continued to grow, adding new vendors, features — and for the 2013 season, a new location and manager.

In March 2013, the market requested to move its operation to S. Broadway between A and W. Main streets, just one block away from its previous position on Broadway from  W. Olive Avenue to Market Street.  The new spot will alleviate traffic and safety concerns as pedestrians will no longer have to cross over W. Main Street. The new site will also allow a larger expansion of activities, walk-ways, and additional vendors in the near future, according to the market.

Turlock’s new market manager, Derek Griffin, has witnessed the market's growth as a volunteer and organizer since its start and he believes the most positive aspect of the new itinerary is the renewed focus on healthy living habits.

 “I’ve always had a passion for fresh food and healthy lifestyles,” Griffin said. “That is what the Farmers’ Market is all about. We need local businesses to participate in linking the mind and body.”

Griffin is seeking local dance troupes, fitness programs, and community exercise instructors to promote physical fitness and nutrition at the weekly market.

The Farmers’ Market is also planning to host its first annual 5K run and walk this summer in an effort to increase community interest in healthy lifestyles.

Another exciting feature that will incorporate healthy living habits are the live musical performances designed to get the public up out of their seats.

The evening markets are also making a comeback, and will include performances by Red Dog Ash, a local bluegrass group, and members of the band Home Grown. Live music by a solo guitarist will be played throughout the regular daytime markets as well.

The market will have roughly 30 vendors, including a variety of growers and other food options such as  Doc’s BBQ and Hummus Heaven.

“There is always a great variety of lunch items,” said Griffin. “So we decided to buy new tables and chairs for a larger seating area. Now they can sit and enjoy the food they purchase.”

This year's market will also feature a storytime area hosted by the Turlock Public Library and craft booths focused on children. Griffin is expecting to schedule a petting zoo in the near future.

The market has also garnered a new premiere sponsor: California State University, Stanislaus.

“We will be having a University Day at the market real soon,” said Griffin. “We talked with the university’s president, and it’s a long time coming to try to integrate Turlock with university students. We are hoping to draw faculty, staff and students for the event. It will be their market for the day.”

Griffin’s outreach efforts have also expanded to the Stanislaus County Fair.

“I hope it works,” said Griffin. “There are going to be a few changes, but I’m sure everyone who visits will have a good time.”

The Turlock Certified Farmers Market will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday from May to October. The four night markets will run from  4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on June 7, July 5, Sept. 6, and Oct. 25.