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Farmer's Market: A fresh start

COC hosts the first Santa Clarita Farmers’ Market of the year

Posted: January 4, 2009 8:45 p.m.
Updated: January 5, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Sue Lewis sells a batch of autumn royal grapes from Apkarian Family Farm.

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The Thompson family of Castaic goes grocery shopping every Sunday, but they don't clip coupons or push shopping carts.

Samantha Thompson and her two kids stroll through the farmers' market to scout out the sweetest strawberries, the most vibrant flowers and the softest bread.

"It's become our thing," she said. "We always get it fresh from the farmers' market."

She's one of the regulars who show up first thing in the morning at the Santa Clarita Farmers' Market at College of the Canyons every Sunday.

For Thompson, it has become a fun, family routine she started several years ago.

"My kids love it," she said. "It's good for kids to get outside and check everything out."

Her four-year-old daughter, Sydny, always munches on kettle corn, she said. Sydny also can't resist sampling each type of berry the vendors display on their tables.

"She knows what all the fruits and the vegetables are and what stands we go to," she said. "And they all know her."

Ginny Ruehle of Valencia arrives at the market as early as possible to snatch up the popular foods before they're gone.

"A lot of stuff, like carrots, if you don't get here early, they're gone in a snap," she said.

The strawberries at the Santa Clarita Farmers' Market are the sweetest berries around, she said. "I can taste the difference," she said. "Everything has flavor here. It's wonderful."

Sunday's market offered tamales, lettuce, grapes, flowers, breads and cheeses.

"The guy I get my herbs from isn't here and I'm heartbroken," Ruehle said. "You can go to him and get a huge bundle for $1."

One of the hottest items right now is the oro blanco grapefruit, which can be hard to find in stores, she said.

"I take it into work and people ask me to buy it for them," she said. "It's not like a normal grapefruit. It's sweet - extremely sweet."

Mom's Products - a family-owned business based in Orange County - sells 14 flavors of hummus, the artichoke being the most popular.

"We've been in the market for seven years and people love us," said Mohsen Azouz. "Everybody loves our hummus. Once they try it, they usually buy it."

He said he sees quite a few repeat customers every week.

"I basically know each and every customer that comes," he said. "I've kind of become friends with them."

The year-round market is a Ventura County Certified farmers' market and is open Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to noon at College of the Canyons, Parking Lot 8.

Visit www.vccfarmersmarkets.com for more information.

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