College of the Canyons Farmer’s Market

College+of+the+Canyons+Farmer%27s+Market

Sabrina Ho and Gillian Bui

A great way to start off your week is to take a trip to the Farmer’s Market. Every Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to noon, farmers from all over California gather at College of the Canyons to sell their fresh produce. The market is open all year round, rain or shine.

 

The College of the Canyons Farmer’s Market offers a variety of products like fresh vegetables, baked goods, pressed juices, flowers and so much more. Vendors vary every week and products change from season to season, so the Farmer’s Market can offer you different things on every trip.

 

When the pandemic hit, vendors were forced to quickly adapt to a new reality that changes everyday. Since the beginning of the pandemic, a number of precautions have been put in place to ensure the safety of the vendors and customers. Social distancing and mask use have been implemented at the market. In addition, there are less customers and vendors than usual, which means a limited variety of products. Yellow caution tape surrounds each booth to keep customers from clustering in one place, and each vendor regulates the number of people in a booth at one time. One vendor even gave each customer latex gloves to sort through produce. 

 

A weekly customer of the farmers market, Anthony Trujillio, explained how the pandemic has changed the experience of going to the Farmer’s Market.

 

“People are not interacting as they typically do. Normally, it’s more like a social gathering while you shop. But since the pandemic has started it is a very individualized activity,” Truijillio elaborated. 

 

While these rules exist to keep us safe, there are always people who have their own beliefs about the pandemic. Customers who choose to disobey the market rules, such as not wearing a mask, or not distancing, pose a great challenge to vendors and other customers.

 

One of the vendors, Dee LaPlume, shared the challenges she is facing with the new COVID-19 protocols. 

 

“The biggest challenge is when we get customers who are not really on board with the protocols. That is hard because we want to please the customers,” LaPlume explained. “We were all raised with the idea that as a vendor, if you work a place with the public, you always want to cater to them. They’re different people with different ideas about the safety measures we need to keep, but at the market, we have specific rules so regardless of what you believe about COVID, we all have to follow the rules when we’re in this place.”

 

The pandemic has not only affected the experience of the Farmer’s Market, but has directly impacted the product sales for farmers. 

 

Kayla, an Underwood Farms vendor, revealed, “COVID-19 has made the market more difficult for the farmers, because less customers are able to go in at a single time so we have lost money.”

 

Despite the many challenges vendors have faced, Rob Oosterveer, of Los Padres Orchid Company, shared his positive experience with being a part of the Farmer’s Market during this time. 

 


“I have to say that overall I think the markets have gotten better because the Farmer’s Market has gained new customers during this COVID crisis,” Oosterveer shared. “The biggest problem for me during this time is actually a good problem to have. During the pandemic business has gotten better so I am actually having a hard time growing enough plants to sell.”

 

For the customers, the Farmer’s Market offers a different experience compared to shopping at the traditional grocery store. It allows customers to socially distance themselves easier as they are outside in the fresh air. In addition, customers can support local businesses and guarantee that their produce was picked that week and came directly from the farm.

 

People should come to the Farmer’s Market because you can come talk to the grower and your stuff is fresh,” Fred Elrod, a vendor at the market, explained. “You can get insight on how it’s grown and where it’s grown. At the supermarket you have no insight on these things.”

 

Overall, going to the Farmer’s Market is a great experience that everyone should try out. There are so many things the market has to offer and gives you a great opportunity to support local and small businesses.