Bethany Clough

Fresno has some of the best farmers markets around. Here’s where to find them

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One of the best things about Fresno? Its farmers markets.

Since we feed the nation with what we grow here, it’s no surprise we have some pretty awesome markets.

Sometimes walking through a Fresno farmers market is a sensual experience.

There’s so much to take in: Piles of glossy vegetables, new fruits you’ve never seen before and bundles of mint and basil so fragrant they deserve a vase in the middle of the dining room table.

Mid July is like Christmas when it comes fresh fruit. So many are in season: peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, figs, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe and more.

If you’re a baker, this is your chance to make something photo worthy.

But even in the dead of winter, farmers markets here carry a surprising amount of produce, like hearty dinosaur kale and rainbow chard.

Our farmers markets often carry things you can’t always find at the supermarket: Unusual varieties of pluots (a cross between apricots and plums), heirloom tomatoes with streaks of green and red, yellow raspberries, curly garlic scapes, taro root, and lately, lemon cucumbers – little round cukes that taste like their name.

Part of the fun is not being afraid to ask a farmer what something is or how to prepare it. Then you can impress your friends and family with new and different flavors.

Whichever farmers market you choose, bring lots of small bills and plastic bags.

Our list of markets below covers Fresno and Clovis, though there are certainly many more in outlying cities. Some are seasonal and some are year round. Most markets accept the state’s Electronic Benefit Transfer, or EBT, card or the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.

Kaiser Permanente Fresno Farmers Market

When: From 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays, March through November, starting at 9 a.m. from December through February.

Where: Fresno Medical Center, 7300 N. Fresno St.

Contact: (559) 448-4128.

Details: With all kinds of vegetables and fruit for sale, there are also baked goods, handmade soaps, and flowers. Food trucks and other vendors are there, including Spoon & Fork’s Filipino food, Raw Fresno and Ohana Pantry selling its acai bowls.

Manchester Center Farmers Market

When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays, year round.

Where: In the parking lot at Manchester Center, at Blackstone and Shields avenues.

Contact: (559) 360-1377.

Details: With lots of fruit and vegetable vendors, you’ll also find puppet performances for the kids and the Fresno County Bookmobile is there the first Friday of every month from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lots of Mexican food vendors serve burritos, tacos, Mexican seafood dishes, fruit cups and aguas frescas.

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Maro Alpoonarian and Dimitri Jaramishian pick out a bouquet of flowers, at GT Florists and Herbs, at the Market on Kern farmers market in 2017. JOHN WALKER jwalker@fresnobee.com

The Market On Kern

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays, from May to October.

Where: Kern Street, between M and N streets, in downtown Fresno.

Contact: downtownfresno.org or 559-490-9966 ext. 221.

Details: This seasonal market has live music or a DJ each week. It has vegetables, fruit, fresh-squeezed juices, honey and prepared foods like Kettle Corn, Casa de Tamales and vegan friendly Rappit Up!

Old Town Clovis Farmers Market on Fridays

When: 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m Fridays, from May through September.

Where: On Pollasky Avenue, between Third and Seventh streets.

Contact: oldtownclovis.org or (559) 298-5774.

Details: This huge farmers market is as much about entertainment as it is about food. There is live music and lots of vendors selling all kinds of vegetables and fruit. Plus there locally made goods like soaps and garden items like succulents. Plenty of food trucks show up and you’ll also find shaved ice, and vendors like the Butternut Baking Co., which sells cookies and other baked goods.

Old Town Farmers Market on Saturdays

When: 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturdays year round.

Where: Pollasky between Fifth Street & Bullard Avenue.

Contact: oldtownclovis.org or (559) 298-5774.

Details: This is a year-round market that’s smaller than its Friday-night counterpart. It features plenty of fruit and vegetables, including strawberries, along with herbs, fresh-squeezed juices and fresh flowers. Prepared food is also for sale including tamales, baked goods and other snacks.

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1 1/2-year-old eats a juicy strawberry on River Park Farmers Market’s Gourmet Way. JOHN WALKER jwalker@fresnobee.com

River Park Farmers Market on Tuesdays

When: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays year round. Once a month, the market celebrates one food, with quadruple the number of mobile food vendors that day and expanded hours from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. those days. The next one is “peach palooza” on Tuesday, July 23.

Where: River Park between Yoshino’s and H&M.

Contact: www.riverparkfm.com or (559) 994-9292.

Details: This market has grown substantially in recent years. In addition to local farmers selling their fruit and vegetables, you’ll also find live music, free bounce houses and handmade items. Several food trucks and vendors participate, like cupcake truck the Cupcake Route, Quesadilla Gorilla and Tako Korean BBQ.

River Park Farmers Market on Saturdays

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. year round, Saturdays.

Where: River Park between Yoshino’s and H&M.

Contact: www.riverparkfm.com or (559) 994-9292.

Details: Started last year, the market has vendors selling fruit and vegetables, including Asian veggies, and nuts, jams and jellies. Expect prepared foods like fruit cups and carne asada tacos and elote (corn with cheese and chile powder) from Sanchez Corn.

The Farmers Market at Saint Rest Plaza

When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the second Saturday of the month through October.

Where: Saint Rest Plaza, Elm and Reverend Chester Riggins avenues in south Fresno.

Contact: (559) 420-0760.

Details: The youngest farmers market around, this one at the newly constructed Saint Rest Plaza. Ooooby sells its organic produce and fruit, along with a farm called Peach on Earth selling stone fruit. A group of kids called the Sweet Potato Club is also selling its sweet potato goods, including milkshakes.

One or two food trucks are usually there and the market is looking for new vendors.

Tower Farmers Market

When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays, May through September.

Where: In the parking lot of Detention Billiards, 750 E. Olive Ave.

Contact: (559) 633-9895.

Details: Fruit and veggies are for sale, with other vendors selling their goods.

Valley Fresh Farmers Market at Valley’s Children’s Healthcare

When: From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays, year round.

Where: Valley Children’s Hospital, 9300 Valley Children’s Pl, Madera. Take the Children’s Blvd. exit from Highway 41.

Contact: www.facebook.com/ValleyFreshFM/ or (559) 994-9292.

Details: This market has veggies and fruit, but focuses more on prepared items, like honey, fresh-cut flowers, and food trucks. Expect to find vendors like Rita’s Italian Ice, The Quirky Cafe and Roma’s Italian Street Cuisine.

The Vineyard Farmers Market

When: From 7 a.m. to noon Saturdays and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays

Where: At 100 W. Shaw Ave., its on the northwest corner of Blackstone and Shaw avenues, tucked behind Eyeglass World.

Contact: https://vineyardfarmersmarket.com.

Details: One of the bigger markets around, this market has almost everything grown here sold by the farmers who grew it. That includes stone fruit-like peaches, plums and nectarines, all kinds of berries, artichokes, herbs, flowers, fresh-squeezed juices and greens. You’ll also find honey, jam, bread from La Boulangerie, knife sharpening and coffee available by the cup or the pound. Various food vendors attend the market too, including Casa de Tamales.

Bethany Clough: (559) 441-6431, @BethanyClough

Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.
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