Farmers market draws healthy crowd

Bryan Valparaiso helps his father sell tomatoes, green beans and other fresh produce for Riverside-based RS Farms, at the La Verne Farmer’s Market Saturday. Valparaiso said after the day is over, they return to Riverside and start loading produce for Sunday’s farmers market in Claremont. Delia Heredia, who owns Delia’s Barber and Beauty Shop on Third Street, was one of Valparaiso’s first customers of the day. The farmers market is held every Saturday in on D Street in downtown La Verne. / photo by Berenice Gonzalez
Bryan Valparaiso helps his father sell tomatoes, green beans and other fresh produce for Riverside-based RS Farms, at the La Verne Farmer’s Market Saturday. Valparaiso said after the day is over, they return to Riverside and start loading produce for Sunday’s farmers market in Claremont. Delia Heredia, who owns Delia’s Barber and Beauty Shop on Third Street, was one of Valparaiso’s first customers of the day. The farmers market is held every Saturday in on D Street in downtown La Verne. / photo by Berenice Gonzalez

Tyler Evains
Assistant Arts Editor

La Verne community members out early Saturday got to hear the music of Soundwave band while enjoying samples of persimmons and oranges at the La Verne farmers market, which has been in full swing Saturdays year-round for over a year.

Previously the La Verne market was held seasonally Thursday evenings.

Manager of La Verne Fresh and ULV alumnus Oscar De Leon said the farmers market struggled at first, but is doing well now.

“The Thursday night market was a unique event, but people weren’t really buying things,” De Leon said.

Changing the market to Saturday mornings proved to be ideal, De Leon said. People are already out shopping, so they come with the intention of buying something.

“The market has become a routine for locals,” De Leon said.

Pappas Artisanal, a restaurant on D Street, now opens for breakfast on Saturday mornings to feed farmers market shoppers.

Jeff Nasmyth and Christopher Gendreau, the owners of Chase’s, another downtown restaurant, buy many of their fresh ingredients from farmers market vendors.

Vendors offer fruit, vegetables, honey, pupusas tamales and coffee, as well as jewelry, knitted items and other crafts and knick knacks.

La Verne Fresh is sponsored by Xela Aid, a nonprofit foundation that works in Guatemala. Part of the market’s revenue goes to the organization.

Farmers market vendor Brian Griffith of Griffith Family Farm would encourage young people to get into farming.

With healthier, cleaner eating becoming more prevalent, local farming is expanding, he said.

Griffith started farming four years ago and has become passionate about this work, after working as an educator for more than two decades.

“Farmers markets are a good place to meet local people and find local, fresh food,” Griffith said. “It’s a great feeling to see someone try something new.”

Vendor Daniel Perez of Happy Hawk Farm said his fiancée makes their fresh salsas from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. before the Saturday markets.

Happy Hawk also sells micro greens – that are harvested only two weeks after germination, when they are highest in nutrients.

Nic Erd of Erd Ranch sells handmade soaps, scrubs and creams made of goats’ milk and essential oils.

“We used to sell veggies and eggs, but this is more sustainable,” Erd said.

Erd said his is a family business. The Erds sell their products at three other farmers markets in Temecula and one in Riverside.

La Verne Fresh Farmers’ Market runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday on D Street in downtown La Verne.

Tyler Evains can be reached at tyler.evains@laverne.edu.

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