By Josh Lofy
Farmers markets are amazing places where people that come from a variety of different beginnings. So what happens when a farmers market comes to Bakersfield’s already beloved First Friday event? An explosion of Bakersfield genius.
There was music at every corner of the First Friday event;from local DJs those who had brought out a violin, keyboard, or an acoustic guitar.
Many local people were out to make some noise. The farmers market itself had a concert setup at the end of their street. The atmosphere was a beautiful interweaving of the arts, music,and food.
Lucia Vargas, representing Apple Sherrill Orchards from Arvin, CA, said that they travel through the many different farmers markets in the Bakersfield and Los Angeles area. She enjoyed being at the new Bakersfield First Friday Farmers Market because they enjoy being local.
It is much better for them to stay near where they grow their food. Her stand had large bags of pomegranates, many different dried fruits and nuts, and featured an assortment of freshly squeezed juices.
These events greatly affect how our locals live. For instance, April Verhoof used the idea of farming to get her children into their education. One of her children, Katie, is a student at CSUB who is majoring in agricultural business. April enjoys the farmers market because you can get that “fresh local taste and organic quality without paying the price you would in a grocery store.”
From the Farm featured a wide assortment of jams and jellies,as well as nuts and honey.
Many artists were excited to see the farmers market as an extension of First Friday too.Mark Lamas Jr., a CSUB alumni, runs an art booth where people can come to do free painting through his church’s young adult group, “Anchor.” He said that he thought that the farmers market was, “fantastic.” Travis Boe of Tattered Buffalo, a locally based leather crafts store on
Etsy.com,also said that he thought that the farmers market was cool.Zaki Wyatt, an incense maker with more than 20 years experience, said that he didn’t really mind the farmers market being at First Friday, and also said that it was wonderful. He has been going to the event for 6 months, and thought that everyone needs variety in their life.
The theme for this farmers market was simple: Trees. One such group that was there, Invest From the Ground Up, is a statewide program that is currently focusing on bringing tree awareness and investment towards trees in Bakersfield, one of its five cities it is working in.
The state leader of the program, Nancy Hughes, described the campaign as a ground up campaign for bringing education to businesses about trees. She says that trees that are planted beautify the downtown landscape and it shows that “those who are here care.”
The program is locally represented by the Tree Foundation of Kern. I had an amazing time with my First Friday experience. One local artist,Joe Ormeord who was running the booth The Elephant, helped to keep me grounded through this experience.
He was skeptical of the prices that some booths had to pay to be on the closed off section of street, saying they were as high as 50 dollars. “I would love for it to be a fun event, but love for it to be free and based on artand music.”
Wyat added, “I love the eclectic nature. Everyone does something new. Bakersfield really needs this.”
This space should be a show of Bakersfield self-expression, where our local community is free to be who they want, however they want to be it. And at last weeks First Friday, that’s exactly what I saw.
I hope to continue to see larger artist and farmer participation of our local community in our First Friday event.
What an amazing place we could make our Bakersfield home to become, and what a great way to show someone how desire to express yourself.
Don’t put down your arts, don’t give up on your food choices. These are the things that make us what and who we are, and we can all be better for it tomorrow.