Lovers of fresh produce can start planning those summer menus.

The CalaverasGROWN Farmers Market is launching the 2019 season in San Andreas Thursday with some pretty big changes.

The first change is that the market will be open weekly. The primary market will take place on the second Thursday of each month from 4-6 p.m., with the season concluding Oct. 31.

On every week, other than the second Thursday when the main market takes place, a second smaller farm stand will be available and offer many of the same products as the larger market, in addition to a pick-up option for orders.

Secondly, the farmers market will offer what is called a Market Match program for Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC)/Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FNMP) customers. This means that for every dollar spent at the farmers market, customers using those programs will be able to double their expenditures on fruits and vegetables. This is due to a grant from Mark Twain Health Care District.

Thanks to the generosity of the Mark Twain Health Care District we are able to offer these market match programs to those in our community who most need access to fresh, nutritious, healthy foods and by offering these shopping opportunities at our local markets and farm stand we are also keeping the money earned in our community and supporting our local farms and producers.” said Odile Morrison, market manager.

The market will include vendors selling fruits and vegetables, herbs and plants, and will feature booths from Calaveras High School Farm, French & Family Farms, Kriletich Family Farms, Sun Harvest Farm, Paloma Pollinators, Mangini Ranch, Gold Country Roasters and Catano Winery.

“Locally grown produce has traveled fewer miles so it’s fresher, more nutritious and has greater flavor,” said Billie Hammer, president of CalaverasGROWN and a local rancher. “And dollars spent at this market are an important source of income for local farmers.”

One of those local farmers has been involved for quite some time.

“We’re always trying to build clientele. Mostly I’m involved in the market of two decades of being a board member of CalaverasGROWN, which is a small nonprofit organization working to improve the quality of life in Calaveras County,” said Sean Kriletich, a local farmer, board member, and vendor for the farmers market. He said he is especially excited about the Market Match program this year, and wants to emphasize that the price of produce at farmers markets is typically significantly less than grocery store prices.

And Kriletich is making sure to offer a variety of products for consumers attending the market.

“From the perspective of our farm and local wood business, we’ll be bringing raspberries, and possibly other garden vegetables, but we’ll certainly have that. We will also have several varieties of our local naturally kept honey,” said Kriletich. “We’ll also have our wooden toys and pollinator hotels.”

The events are family-friendly, with free activities for children. On the market on the second Thursday of the month, local band Vintage Vibrations plays jazz, swing and Dixieland music. The event is sponsored by Mark Twain Medical Center.

For more information, call 498-8081 or visit calaverasgrown.org.

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