BERKELEY, Calif. — For 20 years, Berkeley’s Farmers’ Markets have been providing fresh produce, locally grown, offering a wide variety — from edible flowers to homemade crepes to strawberries, peaches and an assortment of meats, cheese and bread.
Every Saturday at Center and Martin Luther King streets, families, musicians and even jugglers make the trip to the market to not only shop but also to experience the buzz of the people. Beneath the hustle and the bustle of the selling and buying, there lies a strong sense of community.
Several of the vendors are members of family businesses that have been around for generations. College student Jessica Sifuentes joined her uncle’s agricultural business three years ago because she wanted to become a part of the “big family” of vendors who “all knew each other,” she said. She works with her cousin Bertha Navarro, selling her family’s homegrown crops and conversing with their returning customers.
Edible flower vendor Daniel Johnson also touched on the commmunity aspect of the Farmers’ Market. He mentioned that the vendors share a friendly relationship, often swapping produce for produce, or a “loaf of bread for his salad.”
The customers of Berkeley’s Farmers’ Market serve as a representation of a family of people who spend their Saturdays surrounded by the locals and fresh food. Customer Kate Wilson is a mother and often attends the market. Growing up on a farm, Wilson said she understands the value of an organic lifestyle and appreciates the vendors who help her provide a healthy meal for her family every night.
Gary Spivel said, “Being at the Farmers’ Market makes me realize the love I have for farming and the love I have for being outside.”