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First Farmers Market Focuses On Freshness
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Riverbank Community Gardens volunteers Lynette Bradley, right, and Efren Garcia, seated, were among those on hand helping to staff the RCG booth at the first Farmers Market on Saturday. Marg Jackson/The News

Entertainment, fresh fruits and vegetables, crafts, merchandise and the chance for youngsters to plant their own seeds to grow at home, all made for a successful first of the season Riverbank Farmer’s Market on Saturday.

Set up in the parking lot at Cool Hand Luke’s adjacent to the Galaxy 12 Theatres, there was something to do every way you turned.

“I like it because of the free activities,” said Victor Orosco, 11, who was helping little sister Karely with some crafts. “Sometimes they have Starbucks coffee too and we have the community garden, we go over there to work.”

Orosco said his family has helped out with the Riverbank Community Gardens project and he likes working, planting vegetables and fruit.

“My favorite is cauliflower,” he said.

The Riverbank Community Gardens booth had some fresh produce for sale – no cauliflower yet – but that booth and many others had just picked goods for sale.

Farmer’s Market coordinator Dotty Nygard – also a Riverbank City Council member – said the Saturday events are designed to bring the community together in a healthy activity.

“This is my fun hat,” Nygard said, smiling.

Brothers Joe and Kenny Wolaver of Escalon were helping out at the family booth, Delfa’s Garden, working with their mom.

“Yeah, I like working,” said Joe, 9. “We get to buy a lot of stuff, sell a lot of stuff.”

Mom Delfa said the Escalon-based business does farmer’s markets throughout the area, including the Saturday morning one in Riverbank, as well as Oakdale and at the mall in Modesto.

Amber Peavey of the Peavey Honey Company in Hughson was there with fresh orange blossom and wildflower honey while there were also some food vendors including the Cupcake Lady, Saucy Girls out of Turlock and a merchandise on wheels vendor, the Butler’s Pantry, offering a variety of kitchen items.

“This is our first one of the season and we will have them every Saturday through the end of August,” Nygard said, the final one set for Aug. 31.

Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each Saturday and Nygard said more vendors are typically added each week.

“We also have a couple of great days coming up, June 15 will be our Senior Day where our seniors can get coupons for free produce,” she explained. “July 27 will be our Children’s Health and Safety Fair day with a bike rodeo and special fitness activities.”

Children on Saturday enjoyed the opportunity to pick a seed to plant and take home, whether it was a flower, sweet corn or a fruit. Nygard said getting the kids involved is key and she was pleased with the overall event.

“Considering it’s our first one and there’s so much going on in general for the weekend, I’m thrilled with the vendors and the people that turned out.”