Pasadena Certified Farmers’ Market at Villa Parke in Pasadena celebrated its 40th anniversary just before the National Farmer’s Market Week, which falls during the first week of August.
Villa Parke Farmer’s Market started in California in June, 1980. Victory Park Farmers’ Market started in 1984.
State legislation in 1978 allowed farmers to sell their own produce directly to consumers “off their own property.” Previously, it was not legal to sell anything that wasn’t “sized, graded, or packaged/labeled” according to U.S. Department of Agriculture standards.
Tons of fruit produced that didn’t meet those standards were processed into other food items. But now customers can buy varieties not available in stores because they either didn’t ship well when ripe, couldn’t stay fresh in store shelves, or were too misshapen or cosmetically blemished to be in stores.
Rejecting nutrient-rich foods produced because of appearances is a First World-only issue, said Gretchen Sterling, manager of the Villa Parke Farmer’s Market.
Farm families eat everything their garden or farm produces, so Sterling suggests that customers think of people selling at the weekly farmer’s market as proprietors of family businesses whose product is fresh food.
Sterling said California produce, meat and fish that may have taken a four-hour drive to get to Victory market leave far less of a carbon footprint than a journey of a basket of strawberries from Chile or other foreign countries.
Growing, selling, and buying locally helps local economies, Sterling said.
The Villa Parke market is open Tuesday mornings starting at 8:30 a.m. The Victory Park market is open Saturday morning starting at 8 a.m.
The Pasadena Certified Farmers Market at Villa Park is at 363 East Villa St., Pasadena. The Pasadena Farmers Market at Victory Park is in the 2900 block of North Sierra Boulevard. The number is (626) 449-0179 and the email address is www.pasadenafarmersmarket.org.