Looking for something fun to do on a Friday evening or a relaxing activity on Saturday morning?
Consider visiting the Clovis Farmers Markets. During the summer months, Clovis is fortunate to have two such events in Old Town. While they are alike in some ways, they are very different in others.
Now in its 27th season, the Friday evening market is held from May through September. Starting at 5:30 p.m. and continuing until 9 p.m., a lively energy fills the streets with crowds of people, vendors of all kinds and live band entertainment.
“My husband comes with me to help carry all the fresh veggies and fruit that I buy,” said Nicole Brinkman of Fresno. “He likes the music, I like the shopping. Besides, the businesses here are local, and it’s important to support them. I always stock up on the Asian veggies and lemongrass.”
Merchant booths line Pollasky Avenue, between Third Street and Bullard Avenue. Table after table is loaded with delicious nuts, fruits and vegetables picked at their height of ripeness: Berries of all kinds, cherries, stone fruit, walnuts, almonds, tomatoes, peppers, avocados, kohlrabi, the list goes on and on.
Stroll by the booths, talk to the vendors and learn about what they grow.
Shasky Farms, located on the east side of Merced County, is one of many Certified Producers at the market. A certified producer is a grower who sells its own agricultural products directly to the consumer. Stone fruit, pluots, walnuts and almonds are a sample of what Shasky Farms produces.
Certified Organic Producers are also at the market, the key word being “certified.” Madera’s Trevino Family Farm and Reedley’s Farmer and the Dale are two such vendors.
“Certified means everything we grow is without the use of chemical pesticides,” said Trevino’s co-owner Kayla Trevino. “For example, we’ll use natural controls instead of chemicals. We have to meet special requirements and are USDA certified every year. We grow what you see here; fruits, vegetables and herbs. What we have changes seasonally, depending on what is fresh. We always have raisins.”
Ferrer Farms from Madera is another Certified Organic Producer. Representative of its produce are squash, peas, cherries, the red and Rainier varieties, lemons, oranges and tomatoes.
The Saturday morning market operates year-round from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Located at the intersection of Fifth and Pollasky, the market is smaller than Friday’s event. Parking is plentiful and the mood is peaceful and relaxed. Many vendors, among them, Smiling Oranges, Trevino Family Farm, GT Florists & Herbs, Ferrer Farms and Farmer and the Dale, are at both the Friday and Saturday markets.
Microgreens of Sanger offers a variety of sprouting seeds, among them peas, radishes and sunflowers. True “countertop gardening,” microgreens are grown hydroponically, are fresh and extremely dense in essential enzymes, minerals and vitamins. They can be used in soups and salads, on sandwiches or as garnishes. The practice is growing in popularity and the booth offers free samples.
Saturday’s market experience is enhanced by music provided by “Cousin” Mel Mason and his CDs.
“There’s a mixed crowd here,” said Mason. “I select music for those 20-80 years old, something slower than on Friday nights, with more ‘oldies.’ I’m too cheap to provide coffee, but I have chairs here for people to come and sit a spell. Everyone’s family.”
Clovis Community Medical Center is the Official Sponsor of the Old Town Clovis Farmers Market and admission to both events is free.
The Farmers Market supports the NOSH Program, a Business Organization of Old Town (B.O.O.T.) sponsored cooperative of food pantries that collects food donations for those in need. NOSH means, “To Provide, To Nourish, To Give.” It enables vendors to donate leftover fresh produce that they don’t want to go to waste, to their neighbors.