BY DEBRA J. MORRIS
Lawmakers across the state continue to weigh the pros and cons of reopening farmers markets, even though they have been declared essential businesses. It is still up to individual cities and counties to make the final decision on whether to reopen, leaving us with a patchwork of opened or closed markets. This is why many of the farmers markets in your community have been reopened while others have not.
Traditionally, many farmers markets have been a community gathering place, a place to bring people together, where families and friends grab a quick lunch and sit down to enjoy music, entertain the kids, talk to their local farmers, grab some fresh produce, and watch cooking demonstrations. Social distancing guidelines for customer safety have ended this for now. It’s a place to get your produce and leave quickly. But farmers markets are resilient and have adjusted to current conditions.
While farmers markets enact changes to meet the demands of current laws and conditions, they are very focused on providing California’s small farms with a direct-to-consumer outlet to help them sell their harvest. Farmers markets provide an essential source of income for farmers. They ensure that fresh healthy foods are available to the community. There are a lot of empty grocery store shelves right now with the disruption of food transport systems, exposing the fragility of the industrial food supply chain, so buying local is even more important now.
The value of supporting local food systems has become vividly apparent during this time and needs to be appreciated and utilized. Many customers have mentioned how grateful they are that farmers markets have reopened. Farmers markets and the farmers we serve will surely make it through these tough times. And with your continued support of farmers markets and the local food systems they represent, we will continue to bring you the freshest produce possible, be it good times or bad.
Now available at your farmers’ market: Cherries from Gotelli Farms in Stockton; stone fruit and cherries from J&J Ramos Farms in Hughson and Ken’s Top Notch in Fresno; cheese from Achadinha Cheese; olive oil from Atlas Peak in Napa; honey from Miss Bee Haven from Brentwood, fresh baked goods from Feel Good Bakery in Alameda; and veggies from Tu Universo Farm in Watsonville.
Remember! The Martinez Farmers’ Market is now open 9am to 2pm, with the first hour dedicated to seniors and those at risk.
With summer just around the corner and everyone getting ready for grilling season, here’s a simple fresh recipe to try.
Grilled Sweet Peaches
2 large peaches or nectarines
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Cut peaches in halve, remove pit. Do not peel. Brush cut surfaces with olive oil. Grill cut side down for about 5 minutes. Turn peaches over and sprinkle with brown sugar; cook another 3-5 minutes. Remove from grill, plate and sprinkle with more brown sugar if desired.