Tucked away on a short block in Old Town Clovis, a colorful gathering of awnings shelters tables of fresh produce on a sunny Saturday morning. Shoppers armed with shopping bags and coffee roam from table to table picking out their favorite fruits and vegetables, and maybe a frozen steak or a bouquet of flowers. With choices ranging from duck eggs to loofahs, and crabs to cauliflower, the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market brings a fresh and unique local shopping experience to Clovis.
Just a little over a year old, the Saturday market started in October 2013 as recognition that some shoppers wanted a year-round farmer’s market in Clovis. The long-time Old Town Clovis Friday night market is seasonal, running only from May through September. Sponsored by the Business Organization of Old Town, the Saturday market is located on Bullard Avenue between Pollasky and Woodworth, and runs from 8 to 11:30 a.m. every Saturday.
“We saw it as a service to the community,” said Carole Lester, BOOT Executive Director. “This way people can stay here in Clovis and shop for their fresh produce all year long. They don’t have to leave town to get what they need.”
In contrast to the Friday night market during the summer with its festival atmosphere, music and entertainment, the Saturday market is all about the products. “The people who go are there to get their food,” says Lester. “They still mingle and see friends, but it’s about the shopping, not the entertainment.”
Lester said the Saturday morning market is tightly curated, typically hosting six to seven growers each week with no one booth duplicating another. “It would impact our growers’ ability to sell their products if we had several booths selling the same thing, so we try not to have growers competing with one another.” The result is a small market with a wide range of choices.
“We have everything anybody would need,” said Lester as she listed the items available from the selected vendors - eggs, butter, milk, juices, fresh cut flowers, beef and crab, in addition to fruit and vegetables.”
A walk through the market shows a robust variety of products. In among the potatoes and cabbage at one booth there are baskets of guava and passion fruit. The orange juice vendor also sells duck eggs and avocado honey. Bottled milk is available in flavors like root beer and coffee.
Trevino Farms from Madera have participated in the market since its inception.
On a recent Saturday Kim and Kayla Trevino were busy selling herbs, vegetables and eggs to regular customers. Kayla Trevino said they started small, with just herbs and vegetables and expanded as they learned what customers wanted.
“We’ve been able to grow because people in Clovis are really good about supporting the market,” she said.
In the year and a half since the market’s start, the Trevinos have added an array of products including dried loofah squash, raisins and grapevine wreaths from their own vineyard, and yarn that Kayla Trevino makes using wool from her own sheep. They also take orders for fresh chickens, ducks and turkeys.
This wide variety of products makes the market a destination for families searching out healthy food. Trevor Clinard of Clovis walked his daughter Hazel through the market looking for their favorites.
“We like cauliflower, leafy greens and avocados when they’re in season,” he said. Healthy eating is a priority for their family. “We try to buy local and organic,” he said, “It’s just foundational for Hazel. As soon as she started eating solid food, we started to seek these things out.”
Of course it’s not all just about shopping.
“Hazel likes to look at the crabs, too,” said Clinard.
The group shopping on Saturday morning seems to be different from the people who attend the Friday night market, according to Lester.
“There are more people looking for fresh food, for organic and locally grown produce.
Many of them don’t even attend the Friday night market,” she said. “I’ve asked people and they tell me they get home too late, or it’s not the right day for them. We’re glad we can offer this alternative so everyone has a time to shop.”
Lester says future plans are to continue to grow and change the market as it attracts new shoppers.
“New people are discovering us every week,” she said.