Unique finds fill the market

BERKELEY, Calif. — Pitched tents line the streets for the Berkeley Farmers’ Market, with tables underneath displaying an array of  organic produce, fresh fruits, homemade products and more. These products are consumed daily by customers who come for fresh food, live music and a generally welcoming atmosphere. The Berkeley area’s diversity carries over to the farmers market, creating an opportunity to find products at this farmers market that might not be available everywhere else.

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Katy Pomelov and her display of micro grains in soil. Photo by Ericka Suarez

One of the many unique stands is the Lifegood Gardens booth, featuring micro grains. Micro grains are sprouts grown in soil, instead of an alternative method like glass jars, which are often used to grow sprouts. Other products found at this stand include wheatgrass, barley grass, oat grass and sprout beans. But according to grower Katy Pomelov, the bestseller is sunflower sprouts.  Pomelov, who has been farming for about a year, grows the sprouts and grains in Lake County, Calif. She uses sun-dried sea salt as fertilizer, which she describes as “kind of an unusual growing method.”

Another unique shop is the San Francisco Botanical Medicine Clinic. Owner Joshua Muscat sells medicinal preparations made from plants that he harvests from California and other surrounding states. He has worked with medicine ever since studying it in college 20 years ago. Muscat has been selling his products at the market every week since 1999. They include products for  health, stress, pain relief and sleep. Along with herbal medicines, toothpaste, healing cream and fungal cream are sold. He said his bestseller is Osha, a plant native to the Southwest and similar to celery. This medicine is helpful with viral infections and sells for $6 per bottle. He says his favorite part of the herbal medicine business is “seeing positive health changes.”

While the San Francisco Botanical Medicine Clinic offers products for health, stands like Weirauch Farm and Creamery feature exquisite food selections. Carleen Weirauch operates this stand along with her husband. They own dairy and creamery facilities that they constructed themselves out of old trailers, and have their own flock of sheep as well. Any cow milk they use is bought from local vendors. The most popular cheese is Saint Rose Sheep Cheese, although Palmo Fresco is another bestseller because of its freshness.  Weirauch has been at the market for a month and a half, and she considers herself  “new in the cheese-making world,” although Weirauch Farm and Creamery has been a commercial creamery for three years.

The downtown Berkeley Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.