Berkeley market builds close relationships

BERKELEY, Calif. — The weekly farmers’ market downtown here, held every Saturday year-round, continues to provide locals and tourists with fresh goods and new relationships. The market, founded in 1987 by the Ecology Center, is a friendly and open area where California farmers spend five hours selling their organic and locally grown products to the community.

Fruits and vegetables at the farmers' market.

Fruits and vegetables are some of the many items sold at the downtown Berkeley farmers’ market, which is held every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Dante Kaleo, an employee for the Ecology Center, said that the farmers’ market sends “a very live vibe.” Kaleo also said that the farmers’ market is important to him because “I’m giving back to my community. This is my community, my people.”

Each week the farmers’ market will attract both old and new customers alike. Kristen Sidell, an architect living in Berkeley, visited the Saturday event with her children for the first time recently despite going to the Thursday and Sunday farmers’ markets many times before, and she said they had a fantastic experience. “It’s great,” she said.

The variety of the offerings of the 65 vendors is one reason that about 1,200 customers show up each week.

The vendors at the farmers’ market also add to the friendly atmosphere by being kind and chatting with everyone. Lupe Sanchez, a farmer from Aromas, has been selling herbs and spices for the past nine years. “You meet new people, build relationships, and talk freely,” Sanchez said.

Katie Coffman, a vendor here for two years, said, “I love coming to the farmers’ market because there’s a beautiful connection between the farmers and consumers. You’re seeing a product coming directly from the farm to the consumers.”