At the Woodbridge Farmers Market, shoppers can find totem pole-inspired art, fresh-picked veggies and buckets of blueberries. But the grassroots market is starting slow in its first summer.
Seven vendors were chilling under pop-up canopies on Sunday, waiting for the occasional customer. A few vendors anticipated a rush once the church crowd was released.
"I was checking my watch and, sure enough, right about 11:30 a.m. people started coming by," said Sharron Studinger of Lodi. She and her husband Karl Studinger sell small clamshells of blueberries they grow on their property on Kile Road.
The market is a joint venture between Cactus Mexican Dining and Woodbridge Crossing. The original business manager, Eric Firpo, is no longer involved.
"We had someone helping a little bit, but didn't have time or the focus for it," said Steve Bing, owner of Woodbridge Crossing.
Market hours have moved to earlier in the morning to keep delicate produce out of the heat. Vendors sell their wares from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., though a few stayed a little later for lingering customers.
Donna Shaw sells flowers and small plants in repurposed containers. She's been at the market most Sundays this summer, and said the turnout ebbs and flows.
"At one point we had 10 vendors. One week we only had three. But we're having a great time," she said.
Those who can make it come. Those who can't are not fined. But that fluctuation leaves plenty of open space in the lot.
Regina Ibarra and her husband Tom sell photographs and handmade totem poles with traditional Northwest designs. She says it's great that Woodbridge is doing something for the community.
"So many people come here, eat, then run down the road. This market can keep them here a little longer," she said.
People come to the Lodi Farmers Market for many reasons. Some grab a drink or enjoy dinner with friends, or just groove to the music. In Woodbridge, they come for the produce and crafts, and the more rustic setting, Ibarra said.
The market has gotten a slow start this summer, but Bing said that's to be expected. Most markets start off pretty small. The owners haven't done a lot of advertising yet, said Bing.
He says the vendors prefer the "true farmers market" atmosphere.
"There's no signing up for fitness clubs. You either make it or grow it yourself, or it's not out here," he said. "The people coming out are actually buying, not walking around with a cocktail."
Ibarra isn't worried about the changing turnout.
"We have a great variety," she said. "This will grow."
The Woodbridge Farmers Market is located on Lower Sacramento Road in Woodbridge between Cactus Mexican Dining and Woodbridge Crossing restaurants. The market opens at 9 a.m. and closes around 1 p.m. It will run through September.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at firstname.lastname@example.org.