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Fall season is under way at Victoria Farmers Market

By ALLISON MILES
Nov. 23, 2010 at 5:23 a.m.

Jerry Martin sells his fall season produce at the farmers market in Victoria during his day off.  In the fall Martin cultivates two acres on his farm in Mission Valley with cauliflower, carrots, beans, spinach among other things. He says that most of the vegetables are not ready for sell yet, but soon they will have more produce at the famers market.

IF YOU GO What: Victoria Farmers Market

When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays,

Where: 2805 N. Navarro St.

For more information, call 361-277-2268.

Jerry Martin stood beneath a white canopy, organizing vegetables on the table in front of him. From time to time, he glanced up at the ever-graying sky.

"I don't really care if it rains," he said with a shrug. "It keeps things fresh."

Martin, a Mission Valley farmer, was among the producers who set up shop with the Victoria Farmers Market on Tuesday at 2805 N. Navarro St.

The market's fall season kicked off several weeks ago and winter crops, such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, are coming in. Business has been steady but not necessarily booming.

"We're hoping things pick up today," Martin said.

Odessa Thompson's husband, Noah, typically sells at the market, but sat this season out. The husband-wife duo visited Tuesday to pick up turnips and other items for Thanksgiving dinner.

"I can't get out of it," Odessa Thompson said with a chuckle as she spoke about her holiday cooking. "I'm 82, and I can't get out of it."

Santos Aguirre hit the market with her 4-year-old grandson, Ian Flores. She hoped to find pies for Thanksgiving dinner, but didn't see any Tuesday.

"I'll probably come back later to see if they get any," she said.

Not everyone is familiar with farmers markets or even that the vegetables farmers sell there, said James Warren, an Ingleside farmer who sells at the market. He attributed that partly to the growing number of fast-food restaurants.

"People in their 20s don't even know how to cook a lot of the things we sell," Warren said. "It's easier for them to run to McDonald's."

Markets offer benefits, however.

They offer fresher items than larger grocery stores, he said, explaining produce typically comes from the ground the day before it's sold, whereas, with larger companies, many foods come from halfway around the world.

"You lose the nutrients the longer the food is out of the ground," he said.

For Manuel Rivera, the market also offers convenience, since it takes time to find parking and pay for grocery items at a conventional store.

His trips to the farmers market offer more than just a chance to buy fruits and vegetables although he does that, too. They're an experience.

He said he enjoys taking his mother to shop because they get fresh air and visit with area producers.

"It's nice to help them out, too," he said. "Giving $1 here ain't going to hurt you, and you're helping the farmers."

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