Berkeley residents support their local market

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A local family enjoys a contemporary jazz artist. Photo by Shannon Elliott

BERKELEY, Calif. — Customers at the Farmers’ Market in Berkeley all demonstrate one common belief: When at the Saturday market, residents come together to form a strong sense of community.

Customers are enthusiastic and dedicated to return to their local market, not only for their produce, but also to support their local farming community.

A local vendor at the market, dedicated to delivering a quick dose of stress relief, massage therapy, Catherine Rinaldo is a passionate supporter of the  Farmers’ Market.

“I just go to this market … it’s the best,” said Rinaldo as she strolled to buy her morning coffee from a fellow vendor.

Rinaldo’s dedication to the specific market at Berkeley is clearly evident; if her exclusive actions, participating as a vendor only at the Berkeley market, don’t speak loud enough, her words surely do.

“The spirit of the market is really beautiful…that’s not easy…I feel like a movie star some days, “said Rinaldo.

Support of the Berkeley market not only exists throughout vendors, but  also co-exists with loyal customers.

Having strong ties to the market location, with his daughter attending the nearby Berkeley High School, Victor Chan is a devotee of the market.

“I remember bringing my daughter when she was young,” Chan said.

Not only does the market serve as a stable Saturday tradition, but it also serves as a familiar family hot spot, where families have the opportunity to create memories that will last a lifetime.

One common childhood tradition, although rarely existent in farmers markets, is carried out by Dozo the Clown.

“I’ve been a clown for years. The kids are great. [Although] they feel I’m not real… a little girl said ‘they’re real’…sometimes I feel like Tinkerbelle. I do believe,” said Dozo.

Dylan Cardiff of the Ecology Center, which runs the markets, said quality is a key attribute of the market’s success.

Dedicated to selling only locally grown, GMO-free products, Cardiff does not shy away from turning away vendors who do not meet those requirements. “Absolutely no…that Twinkie [or other processed products] would be ingredients that are literally banned,” he said.