By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
No Extra Charge - Market Plants Come Complete With Story
There's a variety of produce to be found at the weekly Riverbank Farmers Market. It not only offers fresh fruits and vegetables but also honey, olive oil, handmade breads, jams, kettle corn, homemade chocolate and handcrafted jewelry - and some ornamental plants with an expert to talk about them.

Carol Faust of Oakdale, who sets up her downtown booth there every Saturday morning in the city's Plaza del Rio, offers berries, peaches and grapes in addition to offbeat items like figs and quince and a table of potted plants, with a story to each.

With her husband Malcolm and some grown children visiting on weekends "to do the heavy lifting," the Fausts have planted berries of all sorts from boysenberries to blueberries, blackberries and raspberries on their three acres.

One plant she was showing this past Saturday, she said, was a pregnant onion. Strictly for ornament only - you cannot eat it - the small potted plant had swellings that would soon burst and drop seeds into the soil that would create more onions, she explained.

Comfrey also was on show. That is an ancient herb that has been around for centuries and is also known as "boneknit" because it is said to heal injuries, even broken bones.

One especially pretty flower on her table was a white and purple passionflower. It got its name from the arrangement of stamens at its center where a priest thought he could see the suffering of Christ upon the Cross.

Floyd Riggs of Riverbank and his great nephew Shane Martinez were interested in a spider plant whose tendrils grow so long and droopy they make great house ornaments when planted in a basket and hung high in the room.

Randy Heinrichs, formerly a teacher at Cardozo Middle School, was promised some quince if he came by again in a few weeks. Heinrichs said he makes jams and jellies and wants to try making quince jelly. The kitchen, he said, is his refuge, his place of relaxation from the cares of school administrative duties.

The weekly Riverbank Farmers Market continues each Saturday in the downtown area, with vendors from throughout the region bringing their fresh, in season produce to sell in addition to vendors with a variety of other items.