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First Lodi Farmers Market of the year is an evening adventure, ripe with options

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Posted: Thursday, June 5, 2003 10:00 pm

The Lodi Farmers Market is a great place for an evening adventure.

At one booth, Lodians can buy onions the size of softballs for $1. At another booth, they can get a temporary tattoo. From a fruit vendor, they can buy a ripe organic pluote (a cross between a plum and an apricot) and eat it while walking down the street, letting the sweet, sticky juice drip to their elbows.

The market, which began at 5 p.m. Thursday, attracted Lodians of all ages to stroll downtown between Pine and Walnut streets.

Many people carried plastic bags filled with fresh fruit and vegetables. Some pushed strollers that served as children transporters and produce holders, and some carried nothing at all and simply admired the scene.

Katheryn Keefe, right, makes a purchase of some fresh cherries from Aurelia Turbetti of Lazy Man's Orchard at the Farmers Market in downtown Lodi on Thursday. (J. Paul Bruton/News-Sentinel)

Monica and Jamey Emmett have attended the local Farmers Market for about five years.

"It's always fun to come the first night and then see how the market grows throughout the summer," Monica said.

Also roaming the streets, sporting a colorful Lodi shirt, was the chairman of the Farmers Market committee, Phil Biddle.

"The weather is perfect with the nice Delta breeze blowing through, and it's nice to see so many people out," he said.

Pat Patrick, president of the Lodi Chamber of Commerce, expressed his approval of the number of local restaurants selling food items at booths.

Tillie Easterling, owner of Tillie's Cafe, also said it was nice to see local businesses doing well.

"Looks like everyone is really enjoying themselves," she said.

A couple of Farmers Market attendees were not satisfied with the event. One Lodian who has attended the market for three years, and preferred to remain anonymous, said he missed some of the food vendors who used to come to the market.

"I really like the Lodi Farmers Market and its merchants, but I really missed that variety," he said. "It seems unfair that businesses who have supported this market since its beginning, like the Davis Bread Company and that Filipino food place, can no longer sell food here."

The Downtown Lodi Business Partnership limited the number of food vendors this year to downtown businesses, said Angie Nicholas, the partnership's administrative coordinator.

Dorothy Coil, who has been selling her gourmet flavored Canola oils at the market as long as it has been around, said although she sells her product at various farmers markets, she enjoys the atmosphere and the people that attend Lodi's market. The only thing she misses is the live music.

However, no one has any complaints about the produce.

It is the first year that Ferrari Farms of Linden has sold its organic nectarines, peaches and pluotes at the market.

Danelle and her husband, Jeff, have had their eye on the Lodi market for a while, especially because Danelle is from Lodi.

Camilo Mondragon has sold strawberries at the market for four years. He comes back year after year because his first year was successful. He is also involved in other farmers markets, but he most appreciates the atmosphere of the market in Lodi.

Nadine Olmo, who sells honey products for Olmo Apiaries in Ripon, said that every year she comes back to the Lodi market it is worth it.

"Lots of vendors don't like to sell at night markets, but people really come out to this one," she said.

Ron and Carol Addington have been walking to the Farmers Market from their house for the last couple years.

"We always come to grab a quick bite to eat, walnuts from Ripon and fresh produce," Carol said.

The Addingtons also mentioned their appreciation of the presence of Prime Shine Express Car Wash.

The company is a sponsor of the Lodi Farmers Market and will be handing out stickers, temporary tattoos and free car washes to market patrons, said Evan Porges, who was working at the Prime Shine booth.

From jewelry and flowers, a beer garden to organic garlic, the Farmers Market will offer a variety of products and adventure every Thursday night until the end of September.

Comments about this story? Send mail to the News-Sentinel newsroom.


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