Though the first farmers market of the year won't have the variety people will see later in the season, there will be strawberries, says Paul Madeira.
Visitors to Madeira's booth at the Crescent City Farmers Market on Saturday will find lettuce, zucchini and an array of greens. But if the first month of the season is anything like last year, the Ocean Air Farms' owner suspects it'll be the crimson seed-speckled fruit that sees him through June.
"Financially it was OK for us," Madeira said Tuesday, "but a little boring for our crowd until July kicked in and we had 15 things at that point. In June I might have had seven or eight or less than 10 different vegetables. It just seems it might be a repeat year."
Madeira is one of about 65 vendors that Ron Phillips, special programs coordinator for Rural Human Services, which operates the market, expects on Saturday.
Visitors to the market will be able to meet with locals selling meat, prepared foods, produce, baked goods, jewelry and other hand-made crafts. Favorites like Bakery by the Sea, Continental Bakery and Sticks and Scones are expected to be at the market, Phillips said.
The market is usually held in the parking lot south of Java Hut at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds on U.S. 101.
This year, the market's opening day coincides with the Home Show at the fairgrounds, Phillips said. Vendors should get to their spots early and visitors should be prepared for a parking lot that's more congested than normal, he said.
Despite the expected crowd due to the Home Show, Phillips said attendance at the market doesn't usually pick up until July when the highway is buzzing with tourists and the variety of produce is greater. However, Phillips noted, each year is different.
"We had a lot of rain early and it really depends on what the weather (does) between now and the end of June," he said, referring to what fruits and vegetables people might find at the market. "People are looking for tomatoes and some of those summer-type vegetables and our weather just really isn't conducive to that."
Visitors to the market on Saturday will likely find lettuces and kale, Phillips said.
For CalFresh recipients who use their EBT card to purchase items at the farmers market, they'll be able to take advantage of the Market Match program, Phillips said. For those requesting CalFresh tokens, the Market Match program will match the amount spent on fruits and vegetables up to $20, he said.
"If they spent $10, we would match $10," Phillips said. "If they're buying just $20, then we would match the full $20. If they're buying, let's say $50, we would only match $20."
People can use their CalFresh benefits to buy any food product at the market including baked and prepared goods, however the Market Match dollars can only be spent on produce, Phillips said.
Meanwhile, Madeira said he's excited for the season to start and he's eager to see what other growers bring to the market. As for his own operation, he says he doesn't plan on doing any grand expansion any time soon.
"It should be our best year yet with our kids at our side mostly selling direct to the public," Madeira said, adding that he'll also be focused on the Ocean Air Farms' farm stand in Fort Dick as well as selling his produce at Wild Rivers Market. "We're just trying to hone in on what is working absolutely best."
The Crescent City Farmers Market will be held from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Saturdays at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds through the end of October. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/CrescentCityFarmersMarket/.
The Downtown Divas will hold its Crescent City Downtown Farmers and Artisans Market from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Wednesdays starting June 5 at the corner of Front and K streets near the Del Norte County Library. For more information about the Downtown Crescent City farmers market, visit www.downtowndivas.org .
Reach Jessica Cejnar at firstname.lastname@example.org .