I was foolish enough to spend over two years in Fresno without enjoying one of the many local farmer's markets. Last year, when I finally got around to seeking out the time and location of them, I discovered that by October, most had closed, and I had missed out for the season. Earlier this year, I made it a point to visit early in the summer. Since then, I have visited many local farmer's markets, and purchased many delicious fruits and other goods. Not all the farmer's markets close for winter, but the biggest certainly do.
Tonight for example, is your second to last chance to enjoy the Clovis Old Town Farmer's Market.
The Clovis one is special in a few different ways. For one, as far as I know, it's the only one in Clovis. More important than that is that it's an evening market. While most are closed by noon, the Clovis one operates Fridays from 5:30pm until 9pm. I believe only the River Park market also operates after work hours. Besides operating at a reasonable hour, the market is large and also offers many stands besides the traditional farm produce. There is entertainment as well....and puppies. Yes, an adoption stand filled with puppies for you to play with.
If you're not sure you're interested in shopping for produce, I suggest visiting anyway. You'll probably be surprised by the crowds, which more resemble what you'd find on big hat days rather than what you might expect from a fruit market. They're enjoying not just the fruit but also the music and many food stands. There are also many (many!) free samples, and that's always a great reason to go out.
Last time I visited, a grape sample convinced me to purchase 5 types of grapes (more than I knew existed). I was given a free sample of freshly squeezed juice, and while the price was high, I was convinced by how much better it was than Tropicana and have been a repeat customer since. Been to the tropics? You've probably had sugar cane juice, something you may not expect in Clovis. If you've never had it....try the free sample! Other samples include almonds, honey, cheese and more.
If the delicious produce doesn't convince you, the market has a large section of food stands, including Filipino egg rolls, Brazilian Pao de Queijo, Mexican Tamales, Wood Oven Pizza and more - not exactly what you might have expected before stopping by.
Oddly enough, I don't appear to have any pictures on hand that I've taken of the market, but the website has a decent video showing you some of the variety. You can watch it here.
The market sets up tonight, on Pollasky from 5th to 3rd. Sadly, there's no bus transit to get you there (thanks Clovis City Council!) as FAX does not serve this part of Clovis and the Clovis bus system is not worth mentioning. That means if you want to get there without a car, your best bet is my bike. Ibikefresno sets up a free bike valet, so you don't have to worry about locks, your accessories etc. Just hand it over and you're good to go. If you want to drive, there's free surface parking everywhere surrounding the market area.
If tonight is too short notice, then it's worth going next week, for the pistachio party which closes the market for the year.
This is what the Fresno Bee wrote last year about the evening:
On Friday, organizers of the Old Town farmers market will salute the beloved pistachio with cooking demonstrations, free samples and lots of pistachio-flavored foods for sale – think pistachio pesto pizza, pistachio sweet tamales and pistachio ice cream.I'd assume this year will be similar.
Extra: The one picture I can find of the market....which doesn't even show the market! I took this when the market hosted a pole vaulting championship a couple of months ago.