Loyal customers, vendors keep coming back

Downtown Berkeley Farmers' Market

A view of the vendors’ tents along Center Street.
Photo by David Reardon

Every Saturday, hundreds of people flock to the Downtown Berkeley Farmers’ Market to buy fresh local products. The market, one of four in Berkeley run by the Ecology Center, is known for its wide selection of foods and produce that are all grown locally. All of the food is organic and free of pesticides. This high standard of product, coupled with an environment that often includes musicians and other forms of entertainment, has made the market a desirable location for many Berkeley residents.

People’s reasons for coming are generally consistent. “I’ve been coming for years,” said customer Brian Honeycutt. “All of the food is fresh and local, and it’s nice meeting the people who grow the food. It’s much more personal than a supermarket.” Many customers seem to share this enthusiasm for the market, and come week after week.

The vendors are just as enthusiastic about the process. “You’ve got basically everything you need to stock the fridge,” said vendor Mike Detar. “There’s great organic foods, and everyone here loves doing what they’re doing.”

People stroll back and forth across the block, looking at all the different booths lining Center Street. There’s a diverse menu of food, from fruits and vegetables to meat and pastries. Many of the products can be sampled for free, an option that customers are happy to take advantage of. Multiple musicians play live for the customers throughout the day. There’s even a booth where people can get massages.

Some vendors have been coming to this market for a decade or more. They keep the customers coming back with friendly service and clear passion for organic local foods. “People like the Farmers’ Market because they can buy from the people who grow the food directly,” said vendor Shirley Trimble. “Everything is as fresh as possible, and it’s a fun community event.”