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Guarantee Home Safety Tips for Halloween

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Many children look forward to Halloween-The one day they can dress up and collect as many candy & treats their hands will allow. At Guarantee, we want all of our neighborhoods to enjoy the festivities of Halloween, but we want to encourage safety as well. Below are three important safety tips to keep top of mind when handing out treats this year.

Use Lots of Lights and Avoid Using Candles
A dark home can tell people you’re not expecting visitors. It could also be an accident waiting to happen. Be sure to keep the pathway from the street to your door well-lit. A glowing jack-o’-lantern makes your home warm and welcoming to children, but using a candle to illuminate a pumpkin can be dangerous. Costumes and paper decoration are easily flammable, so instead of using a candle, use fun light-up decorations that are battery operated.

Keep Your Walkway Clear
The fall season produces lots of leaves. Remember to sweep away dirt, leaves, and branches from your driveway or sidewalk. Trick-or-treaters are usually too preoccupied by counting their candy to pay close attention to where they’re walking, so it’s important to inspect your yard for hazards. Be sure your yard and walkways are free of water hoses, sprinklers, and loose gravel. If your home has an irrigation system, turn the system off so your lawn and walkways have a chance to dry.

Use Your Garage
The night before Halloween can be full of mischief, and the night of Halloween can lead to a yard full of kids. If your car is left outside of the garage, it can be a target for pranks, accidental dents and scratches. Be sure to park your car inside of your garage. If you don’t have a garage, try to park your car in a place with low traffic.

Have a safe and fun Halloween from your friends at Guarantee Real Estate!

River Park Farmers Market

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Written by: Leverne Brown

River Park Farmers Market – Bigger and Better Than Before!
I couldn’t allow the summer to end without a visit to the Farmers Market at River Park. What are the chances of me running into Owner, Peter De Young on the day that I decide to go? Very likely! You can catch Peter at the market on most days of operation.

I had an opportunity to chat with Peter, and he gave me an update on all of the changes that have been made for the public to have a more enjoyable experience. The first noticeable change is the size of the market. It’s much bigger with a slew of vendors from everywhere! Additionally, Peter has decided to open the market on Saturday mornings so that those who otherwise couldn’t shop on Tuesday night would have the weekend option for shopping. If you visit on Saturday, be sure to grab a breakfast burrito. They’re authentic, made to order, and very delicious!

Live music and entertainment is available on Tuesday nights. I had the pleasure of listening to local Violinist Patrick Contreras during my visit, and the man is musical genius!

Fresh Fruit, Wild Alaskan Salmon, Fresh Dairy, Nuts, and Bath/Body Soaps!
With so many vendors to choose from, I decided to allow my heart to do the leading as I began shopping. I couldn’t resist the plump and juicy grapes that Topete Family Farms were showcasing. Everyone who comes across this stand is sure to meet a Topete family member and leave with great-tasting grapes! The varieties offered are: Thomcord (seedless concord), Ruby Seedless, Princess Seedless (Red Globes), and Autumn Royal Seedless.

My next stop was to sample the sweet treats at Brown Butter Baking Company. Delightful and delicious is how I will describe the cookies…I held back, but seized the opportunity to speak with the owners about their product.

“We use our secret ingredient, browned butter. I guess it’s not so secret anymore, but our process of browning the butter is significantly different. We use a meticulous five-step process in baking each batch, so I guess that part will remain a secret!” – Melissa McKinsey, Owner, Brown Butter Baking Co.

Olive and Yew – A Homemade Soapery!
My last stop for the evening was at Olive and Yew. I absolutely love natural bath and body products. Sasanna was nice enough to recommend a very soft and subtle citrus blended soap, with coconut milk for my sensitive skin. If you are fond of essential oils, natural scents, and homemade sundries, stop by and see Sasanna. A little goes a long way when using her soaps, and you know what that means…More lather for your buck!

River Park Farmers Market is open on Tuesdays, 5-9 PM, and on Saturdays, 9AM-1PM through the end of October. It’s a great place to meet up with family and friends or to enjoy an evening stroll with the ones you love. Be sure to visit before it’s gone until next summer!

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Leverne Brown

Guarantee Blog Writer

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River Park Farmer’s Market -The Valley’s Richness in One Location

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Written by: Leverne Brown

On last Tuesday night I was in the mood for something fun and different. The weather was perfect, and I really felt like spending some time in the sun. So, I put my favorite sneakers on, grabbed my shopping bags, then headed over to the River Park Farmer’s Market. The tantalizing aromas of corn on the cob, fresh grilled sausage, kettle corn, and fresh fruit were in the air. The joy of music, love, family, and laughter set the tone for a wonderful first time experience.

River Park Farmer’s Market
When the River Park Farmer’s Market opened 18 years ago, Owner/Operator Peter De Young’s mission was to make the valley’s rich produce available to all residents in the heart of Fresno. There was no better place for a location of the Farmer’s Market than in the center of the valley’s biggest outdoor shopping arena, River Park.

So many Vendors in One Location!
With so many vendors to choose from, I had a hard time deciding where to begin my shopping experience. The smell of fresh grilled sausage was tugging at me. Caleb and Sommer DeFreitas, owners of Sierra Nevada Pork, LLC pulled me in. What a lovely couple. “Welcome! Please sample anything you want ma’am. We offer a huge assortment of flavored pork sausages, bacon, beef, and poultry. Everything is made fresh!”-Caleb DeFreitas-Owner, Sierra Nevada Pork, LLC

I couldn’t help but notice Chays Farms, a family farming business all the way from Watsonville,CA ( located near my home town of Santa Cruz). They were selling fresh berries, squash, and gorgeous chinese eggplant. The berries are very juicy by the way!

Have you ever tasted Filipino breads? They are similar to Hawaiian breads. Always soft, not too sweet, and so divine! Bread and Butter Clovis specializes in international breads, desserts, and cakes for all occasions.

Caleb from Golden State Snacks (not to be confused with Caleb from Sierra Nevada Pork), is a young man from Michigan. He visits his grandpa Mike every summer to help and learn the family business. Golden State Snacks sells an assortment of dried fruit, trail mix, and flavored nuts. I recommend the dried strawberries.

Made For Them, a local organization that fights human trafficking, uses the profit earned from selling their merchandise to pay for victim services. The women who benefit are those who’ve left the human trafficking industry and are on the road to recovery.

Homemade Peach cobbler, fruit bars, and cinnamon rolls can be purchased from Pennsylvania Pastries. All of her recipes were developed from generations of cooks in the family!

Baba Hummus offers a wide variety of flavored hummus. Zesty lemon, beet, garlic, sun dried tomato, and avocado are just a few flavors that I’ll mention. The pita chips are light and crispy, with just a touch of salt. So delicious!

Time for Dinner!
I was having so much fun at the farmer’s market that time got away from me. After two hours of shopping and chatting, I was ready for dinner and a cool drink.

The gentleman at Aguas Frescas kindly hooked me up with a mixture of pineapple/mango aguas frescas. His mother prepared a fresh fruit cup with big chunks of watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, pineapple, mango, and crunchy cucumbers. The drink was something else! It reminded me of an island beverage.

At the suggestion of another patron, I decided on TakoBBQ for dinner. The menu features bbq meats with a flair of Korean fusion.

My rice bowl included healthy amounts of spicy chicken topped with sesame seeds, crispy lettuce, and rice. Tonight I think I’ll try the Korta Sandwich, which is a Korean version of the torta.

Before leaving, I stopped at Grandpa’s Popcorn and Sweets. The company is family owned and is currently managed by the family’s third generation. Grandpa’s Popcorn is available at every Farmer’s Market and in their store as well. The menu selection is comprised of gourmet flavored popcorn, cupcakes, and chocolate sweets. The fruity popcorn tastes just like fruity pebbles!

River Park Farmer’s Market is open on Tuesdays 5-9 PM through October 24, 2017. It’s a great place to meet up with family and friends OR to enjoy an evening stroll with music and shopping.

I had a quick chat with the owner of River Park Farmer’s Market, and he is very proud of the success that the market has achieved. “The River Park Farmer’s Market offers hundreds of varieties of fresh locally grown fruits, vegetables, herbs, eggs, honey, nuts, and so many other things our shoppers have asked for. Our message is simple. Buy Local. Eat Fresh. Have FUN! I’m really proud that the Market we founded nearly 2 decades ago has been voted the “Most Delicious Farmers Market” in the region by the California Fresh Farmers Market Association.”-Peter De Young, Owner/Operator of River Park Farmer’s Market.

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Leverne Brown

Blog Writer for Guarantee

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Shinzen Garden at Woodward Park

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Written by: Leverne Brown

I had the pleasure of taking a personal guided tour through the Japanese Shinzen Garden at Woodward park. As soon as the Kochi doors opened, I became captivated by the beautiful topography of the garden. My first experience at Shinzen Garden was truly unforgettable, and my visit confirmed once again, that Central California has hidden treasures that are just waiting to be discovered.

History of Shinzen Garden
The original development was envisioned in 1967, and the donation of land by Ralph Woodward helped launch the establishment of Shinzen Garden. The original plan was to set aside 2 acres for the garden. However, since the garden’s opening in 1981, it has grown to 5 acres of splendor that encompasses every element of a true Japanese garden; water, rock, and plant material.

Shinzen Garden
Shinzen Garden is patterned after a group of ancient scrolls with a designed layout of all 4 seasons; Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. That being said, there is an ever changing experience that one feels when the garden is visited during different times of the year. To see the cherry blossoms in full bloom, you must visit in January because by February, the blossoms are gone. For those who prefer to visit the Autumn section of the garden, the best time to visit would be in November when the Fall colors are prominent around the bird sanctuary.

Japanese Tea House
Our first stop was the Japanese Tea House where ceremonies are held throughout the year. The tea house was originally built in Japan and then donated by Jackie Duncan to Shinzen Garden. Since it’s placement at Shinzen Garden, it has been refurbished to include 3 rooms, and a new roof which retains the original feel of an authentic Japanese tea house.

Our journey continued with a peaceful walk through different trees, rocks, and waterfalls. I even spotted a gentleman practicing the art of Tai Chi! I also caught a glimpse of the donor board which includes the names of contributors like Paul Sito, one of the original landscape designers and a current board member of Shinzen Garden.

The Bonsai Garden
After our brief walk, we entered what I thought to be the most magnificent collection of bonsai. During my time in The Bonsai Garden, I learned that the Clark Asian Museum in Hanford,CA named Shinzen Garden as the home of about 125 of their bonsai collection! I’ve never seen such a beautiful mixture of horticulture and art. I was just amazed at the collection of so many different bonsai.

The Bonsai Garden is also the home of a Chinese Elm bonsai originally rescued from highway 41 in Fresno, CA.

Double Moon Bridge
Toward the end of my visit, we walked over the Double Moon Bridge. It’s called the Double Moon Bridge because when the moon is out, the reflection in the water resembles that of 2 full moons.

As I took a look down toward the quarry, my eyes were met with an assortment of koi. I chuckled as they swam beneath the bridge. I didn’t see any turtles out, but I’ve been informed that many reside there as well.

It’s impossible to experience the entire Shinzen Garden in one visit, but my personal tour guide Dwayne Berrett did an outstanding job of guiding me through the prime spots within the garden.

At the end of my visit, I asked Dwayne what Shinzen Garden personally meant to her and she explained, “Shinzen Garden is a beautiful gift to the city of Fresno. It’s a place of serenity that offers you a journey to a different world outside of the norm.” -Dwayne Berrett, President of the Board of Directors at Shinzen Gardens.

Shinzen Garden is Open to Everyone!
Shinzen Garden serves as an attraction to the public year round, and many people from diverse parts of the world come to the garden to experience its beauty and splendor. The garden also serves as a prime location for photography, weddings, quinceaneras, and memorial services. Group tours are available by appointment and school aged children are encouraged to visit as well.

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Leverne Brown

Blog Writer for Guarantee

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