Loomis farmers market offers buyers a local bounty

Cold spring results in later ripening of fruits, vegetables
By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
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Knowing where your food is coming from is one of the main reasons to shop at a farmers’ market, according to Gordon Poulsen of Willow Creek Ranch. Poulsen’s produce topped numerous tables under two tents Saturday at the Loomis farmers market, held weekly at the Blue Goose Fruit Shed. Poulsen said his produce comes from less than five miles away, from his ranch in Penryn. “I can call myself truly local,” Poulsen said. "And I challenge the large grocery stores to define what their ‘local’ means," he said. Poulsen said because his produce is grown nearby, “It hasn’t gone through many, many hands,” as it does in large grocery stores. “It’s farm fresh, from our farm to you.” On Saturday, Poulsen, a regular at the Loomis farmers market, offered a wide selection of produce, including cucumbers, squash, carrots, beets, plums, onions, peppers and tomatoes — 25 varieties in all. Because growers such as Poulsen are able to meet their customers at farmers’ markets, they get to know their preferences. “I grow produce that people like, that they enjoy,” Poulsen said. “I’ve learned they like Sun Gold tomatoes, so I grow Sun Golds.” Tomatoes, especially the Sun Gold cherry variety, were one of the most sought-after vegetables Saturday, the first day they’ve been plentiful at the market. Cool weather has also kept tomato plants from ripening for local gardeners. Kirk Jenni, of Loomis, said it’s been a “weird” year, and his homegrown tomatoes just weren’t growing, so he was buying Sun Golds, which he said, are “really delicious.” Mark Foley, who organizes the Loomis farmers market and owns Blue Goose Produce in the fruit shed, said he’s pleased to have Poulsen as one of the market vendors. “He has a great variety of summer vegetables,” Foley said. “After retiring from the state department of agriculture,” Poulsen is “continuing his lifelong passion for farming by growing his own fruits and vegetables.” Foley said the cold spring has caused a lot of produce to be up to three weeks late in ripening. Now that the weather has been hot enough to ripen and sweeten the fruits and vegetables, Foley said, he expects vendors to have a large variety of produce in coming weeks. Jeff Bordelon and his family, of Dancing Dog Farm in Loomis, was selling lots of corn. “We picked the corn this morning,” Bordelon said. He said this was his first year of “having a full market garden.” Kelli Peterson, of Roseville, said Saturday was her second trip to the farmers’ market this summer. “Locally grown and hopefully organic is what I look for,” Peterson said. She also likes that the fruits and vegetables are “ready to eat” and “not store bought,” she said. Lisa Saqui, of Granite Bay, shops at the farmers market “to buy tomatoes and nectarines and bread, wonderful bread.” She likes to support local growers, and the fresh produce, she said, “tastes better, too.” ---------------------------- LOOMIS FARMERS’ MARKET When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays Where: Blue Goose Fruit Shed Call: Blue Goose Produce, 652-8341