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Santa Clarita Farmers’ Market turns 20

Growers and patrons celebrate two decades of organic produce at College of the Canyons

Posted: July 15, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 15, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Sofya Gelberg sorts through potatoes as she shops at the Bunnytree stand during the 20th Anniversary of the Farmer's Market at College of the Canyons on Sunday. Gelberg has been shopping at the market for over 17 years and says the Bunnytree stand is her favorite. Photo by Steve Palma for The Signal.

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The Santa Clarita Certified Farmers’ Market celebrated its 20th anniversary Sunday, marking a solid bond between the 20 or so farmers who, for two decades, have made the trek to the Santa Clarita Valley every Sunday, and the local people who buy from them.

“We’re just so grateful to the people of Santa Clarita who have just embraced the farmers who come here,” said Karen Schott, the market’s operations manager.

Throngs of market patrons were treated to a birthday celebration of live music and free carrot “birthday cake” handed out at the Customer Appreciation booth.

The Farmers’ Market, which now averages about 40 vendors, opened in July 1993 and has grown ever since.
Camarillo farmer Vince Ditomaso of Ditomaso Farms is one of those vendors who showed up at the very first market and found it profitable enough to come back every Sunday since.

“It’s a lot busier now, a lot more business,” he said Sunday. “The first few years were a bit slow, but not now.”
The number of customers coming to the market has tripled since those early days, he said.

And those that continue to drive to the College of the Canyons parking lot every weekend remain faithful.

“I see a lot of the same customers for many years,” Ditomaso said.

For two decades, patrons have been able to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, nuts, honey, cut flowers and potted plants at the Santa Clarita Certified Farmers’ Market.

Its name contains the word “certified” for a reason, organizers say.

For food to be labeled “organic,” it has to meet national standards set by the US Department of Agriculture.

According to market organizers, all the market’s produce comes from farms in compliance with the National Organic Program and Organic Foods Production Act and is labeled accordingly.
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