One of the benefits of living in the central San Joaquin Valley is the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The region's small and large-scale farmers grow hundreds of varieties of fruits, vegetables and nuts. And while Valley farmers help feed the world, they also supply plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to the area's many farmers markets.
Soon, the markets will be brimming with the best the season has to offer, including plump blackberries, sweet-tasting cherries, and more peaches, plums and nectarines than a person can remember.
To find your favorites or discover new ones visit one of the Valley's seasonal and year-round markets:
Bass Lake Farmers Market
When: 4-7 p.m. Wednesdays. May 21 through mid-October.
Where: Pines Village in Bass Lake, 54310 Road 432
Details: (559) 642-8163
The Bass Lake market focuses on farm fresh produce, along with specialty items including honey, extra virgin olive oil and homemade jams.
Live entertainment also is featured every week.
Kingsburg Farmers Market
When: 5-9 p.m. Thursdays. May 15 through end of August
Where: The Downtown Park, Kingsburg
Details: (559) 859-1722
Farm fresh fruits, vegetables and locally made cheese, raw honey and olive oil, are among the goods that will be sold at the Kingsburg farmers market. Market manager Daren Hess said that along with the food, live music and cooking demonstrations also will be featured.
L and Calaveras Farmers Market in Fresno
When: 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays. Begins May 3
Where: First Presbyterian Church, 1540 M St. (at the parking lot)
This small downtown farmers market is seasonal, with hopes of becoming year-round. Organizers say the market will offer plenty of fruits, vegetables and lots of tomatoes.
Madera Farmers Market
When: 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursdays. June 19 through Aug. 21.
Where: Courthouse Park, Yosemite Avenue and Gateway Drive, Madera
Details: (559) 661-5155
Tree fruit, sweet corn and Asian vegetables will be among the produce sold at Madera's farmers market. Along with selling fresh fruits and vegetables, opening day of the market will feature tips on healthy beverage options.
Market on Kern in Fresno
When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays through Oct. 29.
Where: Kern Street, between M and N streets in Fresno
Details: (559) 490-9966
The downtown market will again feature a variety of vegetables, tree fruit, berries, citrus, food vendors and arts and crafts items. This year, the market will have all the produce on one side of Kern Street and everyone else on the other side.
Montecito Plaza in Fresno
When: 5-9 p.m. Wednesdays. May 7 through September
Where: Montecito Plaza, northwest corner of Nees and Willow avenues in Fresno
Details: (559) 994-9292
One of Fresno's newest seasonal markets, Montecito Plaza will include fresh local honey, tree fruit, Asian vegetables, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. Prepared food from Italian sausage sandwiches to shaved ice also will be available.
Oakhurst Farmers Market
When: 4-7 p.m. Thursdays, May 1 through Oct. 16
Where: True Value Home Center, 40596 Westlake Drive, Oakhurst
Shoppers of this foothills market can find cut flowers, fresh eggs, fruit preserves, honey, herbs and lots of local produce and artisan goods.
Old Town Clovis Farmers Market
When: 5:30-9 p.m. Fridays. May 9 through Sept. 26.
Where: Pollasky Avenue, between Third and Fifth streets, Old Town Clovis
Details: (559) 298-5774
The Old Town Clovis farmers market, one of the Valley's oldest and largest seasonal venues, provides a little bit of everything from a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables to live entertainment. New this year: milk producer Top O' the Morn farms. The Tulare-based dairy makes regular and flavored milk, including root beer, chocolate and strawberry. Musical entertainment begins May 9 with rock and roll band 51 Aces.
River Park Farmers Market in Fresno
When: 5-9 p.m. Tuesdays until Oct. 28
Where: River Park, Blackstone and Nees avenues
Details: (559) 994-9292
River Park Farmers Market continues to maintain its focus on locally grown and organic food by offering produce from many vendors selling grapes, tree fruit, berries, vegetables and grass-fed meats.
Reedley Farmers Market
When: 4-7 p.m. Wednesdays. May 28 through Aug. 27
Where: G Street between 10th and 12th streets, downtown Reedley
Details: (559) 638-5484
Centered in one of the premier tree fruit growing regions of the state, the Reedley market is known for its abundance of peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots. Also a big draw are the growing number of berry farmers who will be showcasing their crop of blueberries, blackberries and boysenberries.
Thursday Night Market Place in Hanford
When: 5:30-9 p.m. May 1 through Sept. 25.
Where: Irwin and Seventh streets, Hanford
Details: (559) 582-9457
With nearly 100 vendors, the market offers a huge variety of farm fresh produce including peaches, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, squash, onions and spinach. Food vendors also will tempt people's taste buds with pulled pork sandwiches, roasted corn on the cob, pizza, funnel cakes with strawberries and tri-tip sandwiches. Also, there will be pony rides, bounce houses and live music.
Tulare Outlet Farmers Market
When: 5-8 p.m. Tuesdays through August
Where: Tulare Outlet Center, 1407 Retherford St., Tulare.
Details: (559) 804-8372
The Tulare market includes about 24 vendors selling tree fruit, vegetables, farm fresh eggs and prepared foods. There also will be some local crafters and live music each week.
Downtown Visalia Farmers Market
When: 5-8 p.m. Thursdays. March 13 through September
Where: Downtown Visalia, corner of Main and Church streets
Details: (559) 804-8372
The Visalia market offers a large selection of locally grown fruits and vegetables, along with canned items including jams, jellies and pickled items. Vendors also sell baked goods, including breads and muffins. The market also has live music, children's entertainment and arts and crafts vendors.
-- The Vineyard Farmers Market, Blackstone and Shaw avenues in Fresno. Open Saturday mornings, 7 a.m. to noon, and Wednesdays, 3-6 p.m.
-- Kaiser Permanente Fresno Farmers Market, 7300 N. Fresno St. Open Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
-- Kristina's Natural Ranch Market, 761 E. Barstow in Fresno. Open Saturdays, 7 a.m. to noon.
-- Visalia Farmers Market, Sears parking lot, Mooney Blvd. and Caldwell Avenue. Open Saturdays 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
-- Park Place Farmers Market, Palm and Nees avenues in Fresno. Open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
-- Manchester Center Farmers Market, 1901 E. Shields Ave. in Fresno. Open Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Details: (559) 260-2915
-- Old Town Clovis Farmers Market, old Department of Motor Vehicles parking lot, Pollasky and Bullard avenues. Open Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6327, email@example.com or @FresnoBeeBob on Twitter