Truckee Farmers’ Market offers produce, crafts | SierraSun.com

Truckee Farmers’ Market offers produce, crafts

Renee Shadforth

Colin FisherJuanita Ferguson came from the Central Valley to sell produce at the Truckee Farmers' Market.

Tuesday is a long day for farmer John Paine.

Paine, who owns and operates Paine Orchards with his son, makes his living growing produce on his three farms and selling it at various farmers’ markets.

On Tuesdays, Paine wakes up at 3 a.m. and leaves Yuba City with a van full of fruits and jams to set up his stand at the Truckee Farmers’ Market by 6:30 a.m.

Until 1 p.m., Paine hands out samples of apricots and sells peaches and cherries to a slow Truckee crowd, which he says “dribbles in.” Then he’ll pack up his produce and head to Fallon’s farmers’ market – an event where “the whole town shows up,” he says.

After the evening market, Paine gets home around midnight.

For 12 years Paine has pulled long hours to work at various farmers’ markets in Nevada and in the Sierra. It’s tiresome work, he says, but it’s worth it.

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“I think people in Nevada and in the mountains don’t get the fresh fruit – that’s why they’re so big on farmers’ markets,” Paine said as he set up his pluots, a cross between a plum and an apricot. “Otherwise they have to get supermarket fruit. They also appreciate it more than people in the Sacramento Valley.”

The Truckee Farmers’ Market, held every Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Truckee River Regional Park, draws approximately 15 vendors from all over Northern California. The vendors offer a variety of produce and wares, from tomatoes and flowers to massage and coffee.

Each stand is certified by the Foothill Farmers’ Market Association, which holds the growers and artisans to certain standards and holds eight farmers’ markets in the Tahoe area and the Sierra foothills.

“People drive up to four hours to get there at six in the morning to set up,” said Guy Baldwin, site manager for the Truckee market and owner of Towani Organic Farms. “Within four hours of Truckee, there’s a large diversity of produce.”

Farmers from the various locations in Northern California also grow different variations of traditional produce to grab the interest of shoppers.

“We grow 60 varieties of tomatoes just so we can provide something unique that people can’t get elsewhere,” Baldwin said.

Most of the growers at the market produce specifically for farmers’ markets. For smaller farms, Baldwin said, it makes financial sense.

“It’s our way to go directly to the public and get a retail price for our produce,” he said. “It can be a struggle, but I guess farming is a struggle.”

The Truckee Farmers’ Market is held every Tuesday during the summer at Truckee River Regional Park from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.