FARM FRESH | SierraSun.com

FARM FRESH

Emma Garrard
Sierra Sun

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunRichard Galvin and his son Keegan, 7, shop at the Foothill Farmer's Market in Truckee Tuesday. Vendors say they have seen more people buying produce at the farmer's market this summer.

Despite a dipping economy vendors at the local Foothill Farmer’s Markets in the Truckee-Tahoe area say they have seen an increase in attendance this summer.

Guy Baldwin of Towani Organic Farm said the market has been busy since it started in June.

“Once schools got out we picked up more tourist traffic,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin believes an increase in popularity of buying local and organic has also boosted sales. Although not all the produce at the market is organic, it’s closer to the fields and thus riper, Baldwin said.

Richard Galvin who shopped with his son Keegan, 7, in Truckee on Tuesday said he has been trying to buy his produce from the local market.

“I get to deal directly with the people who grow it,” Galvin said. “I try to buy local and patronize the local farmers.”

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Holly Beatie of Truckee has sold her High Sierra Botanicals products at the market for five years. She said this year is busier and many of those people are Truckee locals.

“More people from Truckee seem to be coming for the first time and it’s a really good thing,” Beatie said. “It’s great to see the support.”

Local Candy Blesse said she’s shopped at the Truckee farmers market for the last 10 years because the quality and freshness of the produce.

“I’ve been buying as much local and organic produce as I can,” Blesse said, as she purchased organic strawberries.

“People look more for organic,” said Miguel Alvarez of Rodriguez Farms, which has lead him to only use organic fertilizer the last two years of farming.

Although business has been better than usual, higher gas prices mean production and transportation costs more.

Alvarez said what used to cost him $80 to truck his produce from Watsonville to Truckee now costs him $140.

Baldwin said he has had to increase prices of produce because of the price of gas.

“We just realized we had to charge a little more,” Baldwin said. “There’s a lot of other costs; they charge more for compost because it has to be trucked.”

But increasing prices haven’t hindered sales, Baldwin said, as he has seen the popularity of buying locally and organic grow in the Truckee-Tahoe community.

“People are starting to get the buy-local, go-green, buy-organic message,” Beatie said.