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Downtown Farmers’ Market opens a week from Thursday

By: Billie Jean Salle Special to The News Messenger
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It is Farmers Market time again so we hope your mouth is watering with anticipation of all the fresh flavors and the hard work of our Sierra Fresh farmers. In spite of our very challenging weather, we do have quite an assortment of locally grown products such as flowers, fruits, vegetables, nuts, meats, eggs and honey. Most of our family farms are located here in Lincoln or our neighboring cities. On Wednesdays, you will find us at the Orchard Creek Lodge in Sun City Lincoln Hills from 8 a.m. to noon. Opening Thursday, June 9, we will be in the heart of downtown Lincoln on F Street from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. You can’t miss us; just listen for the music and follow your nose for an evening of fun, food and family. I would like to define the word “local.” It has become a term used by many in the grocery industry to give the buyer a sense of security that their produce was just recently picked. Some grocery chains term “local” as anything grown within the state. Others define it as 1,000 miles or less. In the Farmer Market world, we define “local” as 50 miles or less. That is why produce purchased at our markets will have superior flavor, higher nutritional value and give you peace of mind knowing where your food is coming from. Very often, the produce has been picked the same day of sale or the day before. Travel time is minimal so the produce can be picked riper without damaging it during the trip to market, giving you the bonus of truly flavorful food. And you are supporting your community farms. Our local farmers represent Lincoln, Loomis, Rocklin, Penryn, Newcastle, Sheridan, Wheatland, Marysville, Yuba City and Sacramento, to name a few. Usually, the booth is manned by the farmer or a family member. We are always proud to brag about our farm so go ahead and ask us questions, get to know us and our farming practices. But be careful because we usually bring out the pictures or ask you to visit the farm. Several of us do have farm stands located at our farm during peak harvest season. Just ask! My farm, Salle Orchards, from Wheatland, has been in the business for three generations, providing the local area with a wide variety of produce. We have established ourselves as a premiere grower by putting quality at the heart of our business. Currently, we are offering a wide variety of produce, such as the sweet and crunchy “Brooks” cherry and the pale sweet “Rainer” cherry. Soon to follow, the famous “Bings” will be ready. Leafy green vegetables such as lettuce, kale, collards and broccoli greens are prime eating now and robust in flavor. Peaches, nectarines and apricots will be plentiful this year in spite of the less-than-desirable growing conditions. Farmers’ Markets offer a great opportunity to learn about the produce you are purchasing and suggest new ways to prepare them. We proudly give samples (that gives us a chance to brag) and share recipes. Don’t let the hot weather discourage you from shopping. Just remember, when the weather starts heating up, so does the flavors. We need heat to make sweet! It’s just the beginning of the season and we are just as anxious for summer as you are. We have worked very hard in less than desirable conditions to bring you our best. Stick around to see what Sierra Fresh Farmers Market has to offer. Happy shopping! Billie Jean Salle is the certified Sierra Fresh Farmers’ Market manager.