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.