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Farmers Market Kicks Off Season
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With the cool sounds of local band Power Play belting out classic rock tunes, the annual Riverbank Farmer's Market got off to a rocking and rolling start as vendors from around the Central Valley plied their homegrown wares from fresh peaches to cherries and everything in between to patrons on Wednesday, May 28.

Bloomingcamp Ranch of Oakdale offered fresh bakery goods from cookies to turnovers while the mouthwatering aroma of kettle corn wafted on the late afternoon breeze. There were independent distributors of products such as Avon as well as homemade crafts that drew a modest crowd to this season's inaugural offering of the popular event.

Oakdale resident Julia Lokker took advantage of the farmer's market while her children swam in the community pool a few yards away and picked up some goodies to take home. Lokker, an Oakdale Gator swim parent, was one of many parents who were happy to peruse the fresh fruits and vegetables while their children utilized the Riverbank pool for swim practice while the Oakdale pool is under repair.

Rodin Farms, located at Claribel and Oakdale Road, makes it a point to be at the Riverbank Farmer's Market every year.

"We're the most local and closest to Riverbank," said one of the Rodin Farm staff members in attendance. "Plus it's really cute and there's always a lot going on. There's always a lot of older people who enjoy coming."

The summer long market, which will run every Wednesday evening now through Sept. 3, will feature fun and exciting events throughout, such as the Riverbank Idol contest and the ever-popular hot dog eating contest.

Cherries and peaches were hot ticket items for all fresh fruit and vegetable vendors as they are coming in season right now.

But it wasn't only food vendors who came out to draw new faces; vendors such as the Riverbank Oakdale Transit Authority (ROTA) were out with a table, armed with plenty of information and fun take-home items such as free pens and totes.

"In view of gas prices, it's important to let the community know there's public transit available to them," said Donna Bridges, Transit Coordinator for ROTA. "It always amazes me when people don't realize we have this resource."

The Community Center is at 3600 Santa Fe St. and the Farmers Market booths are set up on the lawn and sidewalk areas surrounding the center.

Applications for vendors are still being accepted for the weekly markets. Contact Norma Torres-Manriquez at Riverbank City Hall, 863-7153, for more information or an application.