San Carlos Farmers’ Market fosters a sense of community

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Sophia Schreiber

A child excitedly picks out a balloon animal at the farmers market.

The San Carlos Farmers’ Market offers locals more than just a place to buy produce. The weekly downtown event helps build a feeling of community, providing a gathering place for shoppers, musicians, artists, farmers, and other local vendors. 

Every Sunday morning, one block on Laurel Street is roped off to be filled with stands of fresh fruit, handmade clothes and jewelry, and the buzz of people excited to sample and buy farm-fresh groceries. 

After recently moving back to bustling Laurel Street in the heart of San Carlos, the turnout has been impressive. According to local San Carlos citizens, these farmers markets are not only beneficial to the vendors, but they also support the quality of life for many people. 

“It’s nice to be in the fresh air; it feels very social. There are also a lot of yummy things to try,” said Sheila Zeldin, a shopper at the market for over 10 years. 

Coming directly from the farm, items at a farmers market are seasonal and deliver the freshest products. Items at a supermarket are usually not based on the prime times of the year and can travel thousands of miles to get to a consumer’s plate. 

“You’re cutting out the middle man and buying directly from the farmer. There’s more of an element of trust because you know what you’re getting and how it’s grown. And also, you know, it supports the local economy,” said Aidan Wing, a longtime beekeeper at Wings of Nature

Fresh produce is not the only thing featured at this event. A local band captivates the attention of passersby while children line up to buy a personalized balloon animal. A spiritual jewelry shop also set up a booth this Sunday for the first time ever.

“I love the energy here. There’s like a strong camaraderie between all the booths. You get to meet new people, and it’s just really, really fun,” said Shauna Turner, owner of the shop Heartistic. 

Despite the longtime popularity of the farmers market, not everyone is a fan.

“I don’t really shop at the farmers market,” said one passerby who declined to give his name. “I frequently shop at Bianchini’s Market down the street. They are still a community-based business, and I find things a lot more accessible there.” 

Almost any food products a consumer could desire are readily available at supermarkets, making it hard for the once-a-week farmers market to compete with supermarkets in terms of consumer choice and the number of products purchased. However, the impacts of farmers markets are still beneficial, creating loyal customers and vendors. 

“Most of these people are growers, and you are directly supporting them, so they might get a little more profit margin than they would be selling to stores,” said San Carlos resident Cliff Kemper.  “I’m here pretty much every Sunday since it moved back to Laurel Street. I love the fresh fruits. I love bumping into people I know. And I love getting to know the vendors over time.”