Farmers Market Opens at the Pony Express Pavilion | NevadaAppeal.com

Farmers Market Opens at the Pony Express Pavilion

by Maggie O'Neill, Appeal Staff Writer
David Yount of the Fruit Factory the Schletewitz Family Farm in Sanger, Calif. photo by Trina Kleintjes
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Jo Cocking and her daughter Laury Holt swung several white plastic bags of strawberries, peaches, cherries and squash from their arms on Wednesday as they left the Rodriguez Farms booth at the Carson City Farmers Market.

Cocking’s grandson, Jason Holt, hung in the back, munching on a snow cone.

“We come for the fresh fruit and vegetables,” Cocking said.

More than 40 vendors sold fruits, vegetables, flowers, and specialty foods and crafts on the opening day of the ninth annual Farmers Market.

Many of the farmers are Carson City-based, and others come from Northern California, such as Alejandro Rodriguez, 18, of Rodriguez Farms of Watsonville, Calif.

Handfuls of bright red strawberries at $2 a basket colored the Rodriguez Farms booth. The farm has brought its selection of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries to the market for six years.

“It’s nice people here,” said Rodriguez, who said his favorite fruit is the strawberry and he never gets sick of it.

Farmers markets skip the grocery store and allow producers direct contact with the consumers. The market has been at the Pony Express Pavilion in Mills Park since the summer of 1999, when it moved from Third Street.

“The food is fresh,” said Shirley Sponslor, market manager and president of Nevada Certified Farmers Market Association. “The farmers can bring more fragile produce to the market because they pick it.”

The farmers market offers more than just fresh vegetables. It’s a source for crafts and homemade items like potpourri, honey and soap products. As one visitor walked through the pavilion munching on a peach, others examined the ears of white corn. Onions and garlic from Fallon and pistachios, beef jerky, and jalapeno ketchup were just some of the available products at the market.

Karen Scott of Carson City said she has visited the farmers market since it opened on Third Street. Her daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren visiting from Colorado were with her at the first of her weekly stops at the market.

“It’s good food,” Scott said, “And a reason to get out on a beautiful day. And we came to ride the train.”

For nonfruit foods, several vendors like Bull Taco Texas BBQ, Indian Tacos, Ben’s Seasoned Fries line the sidewalk into the pavilion. Once inside, purple asters were selling for a $1 a bunch.

“We come whenever we can get away,” said Brenda Frank of Carson City, who has visited the market every year. “We come for the fresh fruit and vegetables, and you get to see people you know and socialize while you shop.”

The market runs from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 28.

Specialty programs are scheduled at the market throughout the summer. The Attorney General’s Office was scheduled to present a missing children’s program and to fingerprint kids Wednesday.

Endorsed by Carson City’s Parks and Recreation Department, the Redevelopment Authority, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the market is now self-sufficient with between 2,000 and 3,000 people visiting each Wednesday.

“This has been the best opening we’ve ever had,” Sponslor said. “I even rang the cowbell a little early.”

IF YOU GO

What: Carson City Farmers Market

When: 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays

Where: the Pony Express Pavilion, Mills Park

For information on the Farmers Market call Shirley Adshade-Sponsler at 746-5024.