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Change to Sundays opens up the food gates at Los Altos Farmers' Market


Clyde Noel/ Special to the Town Crier

Walking around a farmers' market can be a person's most pleasurable moment in the week. The Los Altos Farmers' Market at Loyola Corners is the heartbeat of south Los Altos because customers can get a wealth of information from the growers, buy seasonal produce, get the kids involved in face painting and petting animals, and use the market as a place to plan meals while meeting neighbors.

The market day changed from Saturdays to Sundays this year, bringing a lot of new growers. Some vendors who have displayed at Loyola Corners for years have long-standing commitments to show in other cities on Sunday and are missing.

Gail Hayden, director of California Market Associations, organizes nine different markets and brought in new growers for Los Altos.

"We have more than 300 growers in the association and members love to come to Los Altos," Hayden said. "Mountain View, Campbell, San Jose and Morgan Hill also have farmers' markets on Sunday because it's the second busiest day to buy food. It won't affect our quality one bit."

New growers this year include Beckman's sourdough and pastries, Resendiz Fruit Barn from Modesto, San Martin mushrooms and Happy Boy Farms, with hot house tomatoes and lettuce mix.

"The association restricts our growers to a 'make it, bake it or grow it' standard," Hayden said. "We don't allow crafts, arts or anything purchased. Buying for resale is illegal.

"Prices are up slightly because of the recent rains, but fruit is mostly delayed and that's the reason for higher prices," Hayden said. "The fruit available is so much larger and juicier. Kika's Farm from Watsonville has strawberries larger than apricots and sweeter than other years."

Art Lange, a retired University of California professor of horticulture, claims El Niño has helped citrus crops.

"The oranges are the sweetest I ever tasted, and lemons the juiciest. It sure brings out the flavor of the chocolate covered orange slices," Lange said. "However, there are no early apricots or plums and they will be scarce. Even cherries will be a scarce crop because bees could not pollinate blossoms during the rains."

According to Hayden, the Los Altos farmers market is smaller than most markets, but does well. The people are supportive, Hayden said, and because of that, she brings in a lot of specialty growers.

"The Los Altos market is a showcase market because it attracts specialty farms and a lot of flower growers. We have around 10 more growers coming to exhibit. Their crops aren't ready or ripe," Hayden said.

The Los Altos Farmers' Market is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday through Nov. 29 at Foothill Expressway and Miramonte Avenue in the Bank of America parking lot.

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