The downtown farmers market’s fresh produce, fair prices and open-air marketplace ambiance makes it a hit among locals, and many frequent shoppers will stockpile produce this afternoon at the final farmers market of the season.
It’s not only a great way to shop, but it also showcases downtown businesses, said Diana Koron, executive director of the Downtown Businesses Improvement Area, which sponsors the weekly event.
Market day means a hectic morning at AJ’s Bakery, soon to be called Downtown Bakery and Café. Most days, the ovens are cooled by 7 a.m., but on Wednesdays, co-owner Randy Pineda bakes until 2:30 p.m. — “Just in time to set up for the market,” he said.
Loaves of blueberry, pumpkin and poppy seed bread disappear from Pineda’s booth fastest. Pineda, who bought AJ’s two months ago, said he already has regulars come by his booth to purchase their favorite baked goods.
“We look at the farmers market as a chance to showcase what we have so people come back to downtown and back to the bakery,” Pineda said. “We’ve had people who lived in Tracy four or five years, and they didn’t even know there was a bakery in town.”
Sandra Davis of Tracy works a booth at the market for Arbonne, a Swiss heath and wellness line. Meanwhile, she greets passersby and takes time to frequent the produce booths.
“The market is about the down-home Tracy feel,” she said. “The people are wonderful, and the deals and the products are great.”
The business association contracts the market, which was started in Tracy in 1980 at Pescadero Park and moved to a downtown location in 1994, to the Stockton Farmers Market Association. The group’s marketing manager, Carlos Dutra, has organized Tracy’s market since 1994 and said that, in general, farmers markets have become more popular.
“Most of the farmers pick the morning before they go to market,” he said. “The only way you can get any fresher is to go to the fields yourself.”
Koron’s business group plans to eventually launch an additional farmers market on either Saturday or Sunday.
“We’ve been discussing it for about a year,” Koron said.
Local merchants will set up shop again for the farmers market in early April.
• To contact reporter Danielle MacMurchy, call 830-4280 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.