The Turlock Farmers Market held their first of three night market events on Friday. Locally grown fruits and vegetables were available for sale, along with other agricultural products such as honey.
The popularity of the revived farmers market is a trend that legislators hope to see continue. Earlier this week, State Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) presented Assembly Concurrent Resolution 42, declaring every Sunday as “Eat Local, Buy California Grown Day.”
“California’s family farmers and ranchers help feed the nation, and their continued success will be a major boon to our state’s agriculture industry and to our economic recovery,” said Cannella. “When we buy California products, we’re supporting California’s economy. And when California’s economy grows, we all benefit. That’s the reason I encourage all Californians to join me in eating local and buying California-grown products.”
Turlock Farmers Market attendees John and Terry Laffin said that they enjoy locally grown produce for a different reason. Terry said that John just can’t find tomatoes at the supermarket that compare to what he grew in his own backyard.
“I’m just looking for some good produce. I’m trying to have that same tomato experience, and we picked up some other vegetables while we were here,” John said.
California’s agriculture industry contributes $35 billion to our state’s economy every year, and the state is home to nine of the 10 most productive agricultural counties in the nation. However, California agriculture experienced a 9 percent drop in the sales value of agricultural products between 2008 and 2009.
According to Cannella, ACR 42 aims to support this important sector of California’s economy by encouraging families, restaurants and grocers to buy California-grown foods. It is estimated that, if all Californians ate locally and bought Californian grown every Sunday, it would represent a 4.2 billion pound increase in consumption of California-produced or California-produced-and-processed food. That would mean $26.3 billion in additional sales of the state’s agricultural products.
“California produces more than half of the nation’s fruits, nuts and vegetables,” said Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, the author of ACR 42. “If we don’t support California agriculture, we risk becoming dependent on foreign food from countries with minimal food safety standards.”
ACR 42 was approved by a 34 to 0 vote.
The Turlock Farmers Market is open every Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Oct. 28. It is located on Broadway in downtown Turlock. The final two night market events will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 26 and Oct. 28.
Andrea Goodwin contributed to this report.
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