Though it will be chilly and there’s a slight chance of some thunder, the first Downtown Lodi Farmers Market of the summer will kick off as expected this evening.

“As of right now, it seems the storm has moved up on its time table,” said Elisa Bubak, Lodi District Chamber of Commerce director of communications.

Chamber staff expect any rain to fizzle out before the market begins, though they are warning visitors to bring jackets, as it’s expected to be chilly.

The news was greeted with plenty of “likes,” and for good reason. For many Lodians, the start of the Farmers Market has come to mean the start of summer — regardless of the day’s weather.

The market brings fresh fruits and vegetables, arts and crafts, cheese, nuts, baked treats, candles, and more to booths lining School Street and trickling down several side streets.

“Downtown Lodi is the place to be every Thursday night,” said Samantha Schwager of the Lodi District Chamber of Commerce, who manages the farmers market.

One area serves as a food court, with food trucks bringing everything from sizzling Polish sausage to falafel and lumpia.

“Another thing people can expect is a beer garden, which was secured through a partnership with local restaurants,” Bubak said.

The beer garden will feature dishes and drinks from Porter’s Pub, Smack Pie, Dancing Fox and Blend Ultra Lounge. Every week, a different musical act will perform there.

In addition to the beer garden, the market will continue to host a wine garden and will offer new varieties of wine throughout the season. The wine garden has gotten an upgrade, with new patio furniture.

“We’re making it more of an actual wine garden,” Bubak said.

Thomas Allen Wine, one of Lodi’s newest wineries, will be pouring tomorrow. Different wineries will be featured later in the season.

This season, the Lodi Chamber has added a new and interactive social media experience to the market.

“We created an Instagram account that people can visit to get weekly recipes and ideas,” said Elisa Bubak, the chamber’s director of communications. The account, @_lodifarmersmarket, shares a recipe and profiles one of the Farmer Market’s vendors every week, along with other posts. Each of the recipes uses produce that can be purchased at the market.

EBT will once again be accepted at the market.

There will also be a new emphasis on the partnership between the Lodi Chamber and Adventist Health Lodi Memorial.

The two organizations are working to tackle health issues in the region such as diabetes and obesity through health classes and workshops. The Healthy Lodi Initiative has the mission of improving the health of local residents, by providing resources and information — including a twice-monthly column in the News-Sentinel’s Lodi Living section and a website, — to local families and employers.

The market runs every Thursday from today until Sept. 5, and the chamber hopes Lodi residents will come out to see everything it has to offer.

“We are thrilled to partner with our returning vendors and new vendors alike to bring Lodians fresh produce, good music and delicious food,” Schwager said.

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