Thursday was an incredible day helping Charlea set up and prepare for the Pescadero Grown Farmers’ Market, which Puente runs. I learned so much about the beauty of the farmers’ market and about the amount of work that goes into running/hosting even a small famers’ market. There are permits and certifications and a host of other more bureaucratic steps that have to take place in addition to lots of sheer manpower to run the event. But this is a weekly event the Puente does well.
I had the privilege of attending Puente’s farmer’s market two years ago when I visited Abby, but it is now a well-oiled machine that is a raging success. With over 200 visitors/shoppers, there was serious growth from in participation from when I visited previously. And while 200 people may not seem like a lot compared to some of the farmers’ markets we visit in the Midwest, please keep in mind the geography of this farmers’ market: rural California; about 2 miles inland from the coast; on the main drive of Pescadero, a town with a population of 643 people according to the 2010 census. Probably about 60% of the people that visit the farmers’ market are tourists, but Puente has done an amazing job of making the farmers’ market available to the residents of Pescadero, too. They even accept WIC and other forms of payment to allow the residents the most access to healthy, fresh food as possible. It was truly a wonderful and beautiful experience.
Besides the farm fresh items for sale, Puente also runs children’s activities including a creative activity and a physical activity. This week the activities included jump roping, blowing bubbles, and coloring pictures. They also had a book give-away where all farmers’ market visitors could pick out free books to read and enjoy. They also had a husband and wife duo playing music throughout the 4-hour market. A volunteer from Puente also repairs and “tunes up” bicycles for the local community totally free of charge! It is probably one of my favorite things about this month at Puente and the thing I was most looking forward to.
One thing I noticed about the farmers at the market is that many of the farmers are women. I thought this was of particular interest as we have been socialized to assume that farmers are men. I addition to the women farmers who came to sell their goods at the market, I also met the owner of the land where Charlea (the market manager for Puente) lives. She, too, is a woman. Although she really hates the term “landowner” and we joked about how she is a feudal lady (as opposed to feudal lord), it was fascinating to hear about the trades that farmers and landowners make out here to get help on their farms. For example, several people who I have met here get their room and board in exchange for a certain number of hours of work on the farm. This is such a foreign concept to a city girl haha! But very cool that they have living arrangements such as these.
For the rest of this post, I want to give you a taste of the Pescadero Grown Farmers’ Market through pictures. Enjoy!