Valley Voices

Tree and grapevines are preparing for summer, and farmers markets are not far behind

The Tower District will be home to two new events starting Thursday: A daytime farmers market and a nighttime Tower ArtWalk.
The Tower District will be home to two new events starting Thursday: A daytime farmers market and a nighttime Tower ArtWalk. Fresno Bee Staff Photo

It’s that time of year in Fresno and the Valley. The three flowers on my small pomegranate tree are starting to bloom. With a little care, we are sure to have three delicious pomegranates soon; that’s if the neighborhood cats or birds don’t get to them first.

The tree is special because my uncle gave it to me. Apparently, the seeds have roots from central Europe.

On the other side of our small yard, two grapevines have started to grow cute little grapes and the leaves are perfect for picking right now. The grapevines have symbolic value to me for a couple of reasons.

Sevag Tateosian for Valley Voices Fresno Bee file

My grandma would love to pick fresh leaves and stuff them for Armenian yalanchi or dolma, as some would call it. She’d make vegetarian or meat filled for people to enjoy. She taught me that the best leaves (in her opinion) were the ones that shine and were very soft.

You’ll know when leaves are fresh. When you eat them, they melt in your mouth.

The other reason the grapevines are important to me is because my late grandfather gave the trellis they are built on his stamp of approval. That endorsement carried a lot of weight because life’s circumstances made him an expert gardener. I was glad to impress him with my work.

When I see growth on both the pomegranate tree and the grapevines, I know that it is the time of year where Fresno, Clovis and the Valley have an increase in farmers markets.

Although there are some places that have these markets year-round, during this time of year, more pop up and that is a great thing.

I admit, I’m a frugal guy. The bottom line is important to me and I think of the concept of needs vs. wants daily. However, when it comes to locally grown produce that is organic and supports local farmers, I’m all in.

Sure, you can find cheaper alternatives, but are they healthier and do they support our local neighbors?

This year the Tower District, located in central Fresno, is getting in on the action.

I’ve always had a connection to this area.

In school, I worked for City Councilman Tom Boyajian. Tom is a community advocate and represented the area for numerous years on the Fresno City Council.

During his time in office, we joined a local group cleaning up the area on Saturdays.

Perhaps my favorite memory is when, after a meeting at 10 p.m., Tom saw a large branch blocking Van Ness Avenue.

In all honesty, I would’ve just driven by it. He didn’t.

He parked his car and started to pull the large tree branch down the road to a safe spot. I helped.

I was much younger, but he was faster. He didn’t want people to be stranded the next morning dealing with this large branch in the street, so he took care of it then and there.

On Thursdays at the Tower District, there will be two events that provide residents an opportunity to get outdoors. First is the daytime farmers market, which will run on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The end date will be September. The community will be able to purchase fruit, vegetables, jewelry and other items.

Also on Thursdays, but in the evenings, there will be a new concept called the Tower District ArtWalk, where people will be able to enjoy food, music and art. These two events are sure to bring people to the Tower District.

For those who don’t believe me, try coming to Downtown during ArtHop. ArtHop venues are packed and people are walking around viewing art and enjoying themselves.

The Tower District is an interesting place. It’s not north Fresno or Clovis, and it is not downtown. It is an equally unique area of town with various housing styles and businesses that encourage walking the streets to get to your destination. I’ve seen students, families and diverse backgrounds of all types living there. In fact, one of my favorite restaurants is located there.

If you haven’t been to the Tower District lately, take the drive there and enjoy the entertainment, music and food.

Give it a try, you might be impressed and want to go back.

Sevag Tateosian of Fresno is host and producer of The Central Valley Ledger on KFSR 90.7 FM and CMAC Comcast 93 and Att 99.