Farmers market season arrives next week
by Glenn Moore
Apr 25, 2013 | 7937 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Produce fresh from the farm is returning to Tracy as farmers markets in downtown and at the West Valley Mall prepare to open May 4.

The downtown market on 10th Street — part of the San Joaquin Certified Farmers Market — will feature more than 40 vendors selling a variety of produce, bakery goods, plants, flowers and organic foods.

Downtown has been home to a farmers market for more than 15 years, the past three under the sponsorship of Tracy City Center Association.

Carlos Dutra, marketing manager for the San Joaquin Certified Farmers Market, said about 90 percent of the vendors at the downtown Tracy market will be from San Joaquin County. The other 10 percent will come from farms in Stanislaus, Merced and Fresno counties.

Dutra said fresh mushrooms — a new crop for the Tracy market — will be available on opening day, with portabella, button, porcini and oyster varieties expected to make appearances throughout the season.

Kim Scarlata, an executive board member of TCCA and co-owner of Scarlata Farms on Lehman Road, said finding local farmers is a priority.

“We work diligently to get local Tracy farmers for the market,” Scarlata said. “It’s important to get more local farms — people love to buy from vendors where they live”

Scarlata Farms will sell heirloom tomatoes at the market, along with fresh herbs and pasta sauce. Scarlata said the farm’s tomato seedlings went into the ground slightly more than a week ago, and she expects to have customers waiting for them when they arrive mid-summer.

Another local vendor, Kandi’s Pies & Pastries, sells fruit pies, breads, cookies and pastries at the market.

Co-owner Kandi Tuso said the bakery, which has been a fixture of the market for more than 15 years, farms about 40 apricot and peach trees on Lammers Road and 16 acres of apples at its Apple Ridge Farms ranch in Camino.

Tuso said loyal customers return every year to her stand.

“We have had customers that started as little children and come back as adults,” she said. “Tracy has been very supportive. It’s a nice group of people, and downtown is a nice place to come.”

Celebrity chefs will take their turn highlighting local produce during a new kitchen demonstration starting June 8.

Scarlata said Laura McIntosh, of the syndicated cooking show “Bringing It Home,” is helping select the chefs.

A celebrity chef will prepare a meal during the market at least once a month, and on other Saturdays, a chef from Tracy will demonstrate how to make a healthy meal using produce available that day.

The market at the West Valley Mall is run by the Stockton Certified Farmers Market Association.

Pauline Garcia, assistant market manager, said the market will open with about 25 vendors.

Garcia said vegetables, citrus fruits, eggs and honey will be among the early offerings, along with crafts that include handmade soap and jewelry.

The West Valley Mall market has no set end date. Garcia said organizers will rely on community support to decide how long to keep it running.

• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or

At a glance

Downtown Tracy farmers market

• WHEN: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, from May 4 to Oct. 26

• WHERE: 10th Street between B Street and Central Avenue

West Valley Mall farmers market

• WHEN: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, beginning May 4

• WHERE: West parking lot, outside the West Valley Mall main entrance, 3200 Naglee Road
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