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Fresh Produce And Fun Due At Farmers Market
Riverbank will host the first in a series of weekly Family Night Out Certified Farmers Markets tonight, May 18, with the Wednesday night market running from 5 p.m. to 8 pm. each week through Sept. 7. Fresh fruits and vegetables will be just one of the offerings at the market, situated around the Community Center. Marg Jackson/The News


Sunny skies and summer-like temperatures predicted for today will greet attendees at the first of the season Riverbank Certified Farmers’ Market.

Market Manager Garnette Martin of the Riverbank Chamber of Commerce said the weekly markets will run each Wednesday staring today, May 18 and continuing through Sept. 7. Hours are 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., with the market set up around the Community Center, 3600 Santa Fe, between Sixth and Seventh streets.

“Our whole concept is that this is a ‘Family Night Out’,” said Martin. “Our farmers are the plus; you’re coming to have a fun night out with the family and you can pick up those fresh tomatoes at the same time.”

Music, food, activities for the kids and more will be featured during the weekly events, with several ‘theme’ weeks also due during the summer, including some classic car shows, and there will be movie nights as well.

“This week, there is open swim at the pool for free, from 5 pm. to 8 p.m.,” Martin added of the Wednesday night market event.

The community pool is adjacent to the Community Center, where the market booths are staged.

Musical entertainment for the first Wednesday market will be provided by the Ryan Russell Band, performing on the stage/platform area on the side of the Community Center.

“We’re still filling in the vendors, we don’t have an actual count yet,” Martin said Monday of getting final paperwork in for the produce booths for the first week.

Other booths will include food and merchandise vendors, the food ranging from a taco vendor to BBQ tri tip, hamburgers and hot dogs to a kettle corn vendor.

“You can come and get dinner or you can come and just get snack food,” noted Martin.

Much like the farmers market in neighboring Oakdale – which kicked off on May 4 – Martin anticipates adding fruit and vegetable vendors as the season moves along and their products will also vary, depending on what is in season.

“Our emphasis is on being a community event,” she said. “This is a fun family night out.”

Meanwhile, the Area Agency on Aging will be distributing Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program Coupons again this year. Eligibility for the coupons include: Must be 60 or older and have a limited income ($1,815/month for one or $2,456/two). The coupons will be given out on a first come first serve basis. Each booklet contains a total of $20 worth of coupons to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and honey. They may only be used at a certified farmers’ market and are limited to only one booklet per person/year.

Coupons will be available at the Riverbank market on Wednesday, June 15 but can also be obtained as early as Thursday, May 26 at the Modesto Downtown Market/Senior Awareness Day Event in front of Modesto Library, 1500 I St., from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.