Productive produce: Farmers Market on the rise

Many different types of fruits and vegetables are sold at the Davis Farmers Market every Saturday and Wednesday.
Many different types of fruits and vegetables are sold at the Davis Farmers Market every Saturday and Wednesday.

By Breana Lee, Staff–

Everywhere at the Davis Farmers Market, people are growing, selling and eating fresh, organic and local foods.

About 40 percent of the total agriculture grown in the Davis and Sacramento region is sold locally and about 60 percent is sold in the Bay Area, according to researcher and analyst Shermain Hardesty, who studies the economic impact of local food marketing in the Sacramento region.

The Yolo, Sacramento, El Dorado and Placer Counties grow produce like kale, tomatoes, zucchini, almonds and grapes; these regions are considered local because they are within 100 miles of Davis, and can be sold through local Farmers Markets.

Though the produce grown nearby is not native to Northern California, Hardesty says “the growing conditions here are really well suited for growing those crops.”

Senior Julia Zabala used to work at Davis Breads and Desserts, which sells their pastries on Saturday mornings at the Farmers Market. Zalaba says the atmosphere of the market is happy, carefree and relaxed.

“Many families love our pastries and it’s a lot of fun to see how happy the kids get,” she said.LOCALAG-Breana-page-001

Between 1994 and 2013, the number of Farmers Markets in the United States grew from 1,755 to 8,144, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s report. Fifty-five of the 60 local vendors at the Davis Farmers Market are within 100 miles of Davis.

Some people buy their organic fruits and vegetables from Farmers Markets, but others prefer to grow their own produce at home.

Chu Lam sustains her own garden in West Sacramento according to her daughter, Hoa Ly. Lam grows an abundance of fruits and vegetables, including grapes, cucumbers, bell peppers, squash and winter melons.

Lam eats them herself, or gives them to family and friends who live close by. In the summer, she grows about 80 percent of the produce she eats and buys the other 20 percent. In the winter, she grows about 10 percent, eats about 20 percent of the produce she has stored frozen from the summer and buys about 70 percent.

The Davis Arboretum also runs an edible landscaping program where citizens can buy and plant cold weather crops, such as spinach, cilantro and Swiss chard for their gardens at home.

Organic food advocates may also opt to shop at stores like the Davis Food Co-op. In the summer, 45 percent of the fresh produce sold is grown locally, according to produce manager Bija Young.

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