Colorful vending booths lined Vallejo’s Unity Plaza on the northwest corner of Santa Clara and Georgia streets Wednesday, while music and delicious aromas filled the air for the launch of downtown’s mid-week farmers market.
There was roasted corn and potatoes, baked goods, local artists and, just about everything from fruits to nuts to a wide range of farm-fresh veggies, available to buy.
One could pick up some fresh flowers on the way home from work, along with some Meyers BBQ and Kettle corn. The Empress Theatre also had a booth, passing out information about upcoming events at that Virginia Street venue.
The Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association also had an informational booth. The association’s officials decided that Vallejo’s ongoing Saturday Farmers Market has gained so much popularity in recent months that it made sense to try a mid-week market for those who can’t make it on Saturday.
But, this is a trial, and will only be brought back if association officials find it viable.
The artist Hub co-founder Sean Murdock said that as a longtime vendor, it’s all about revenue, and Wednesday’s kickoff event looked promising to him.
“Everyone I see has bags in their hands, so the vendors are making money and that’s a good sign,” he said.
Paula McConnell helped jump-start the event, which is a trial run each Wednesday from 3 to 7 p.m. through Sept. 24.
“A Wednesday night farmers market will only improve our quality of life in Vallejo,” she said. “Furthermore, it offers a great venue for our burgeoning artist community, giving them an opportunity to display their artistic talent. Even the politicians will have another venue to tout their positions.
“Most importantly, it gives the people downtown a place to buy fresh foods if they cannot attend on Saturday. And maybe, just maybe, we will even have a few people from the Vallejo Ferry rider pool saunter up Georgia Street to discover our beautiful downtown.”
The consensus of those interviewed Wednesday was that this is a good thing that they plan on visiting again.
“We got lucky, because I was down at City Hall paying my water bill and saw this,” Vallejo resident Felicitan Briceno said. “We’re looking forward to coming again next week.”
“It’s cool,” said a Vallejo woman who would only identify herself as Alisa.” I’m very glad they added another day. It’s a nice location. It brings people down here.”
Vallejo Planning Commissioner Tony Adams said he thinks the event is “a great idea. This could develop into a nice routine. This might take off and could really be something.”
Too busy to make the Saturday Farmers Market along Georgia Street, Murdock said this Wednesday version is “awesome.”
Community advocate Mustafa Abdul-Ghanee expressed a similar positive impression, but for a slightly different reason.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “It’s so important for families to eat healthy foods and get away from so much processed food, and the more things like this we have in Vallejo, the more families can get what they need to eat healthy.”
Erin Bakke of the Central Core Restoration Corporation and the Vallejo Arts Alliance was also involved in organizing the event, and said she hopes to help weave it into a downtown tapestry that includes the growing and increasingly vibrant arts community.
“Isn’t it wonderful to see this here?” she said. “We also have our Friday Arts Walk every second Friday from 5 to 10 p.m.”
It’s an event that Murdock said is likely the “coolest thing going on downtown,” and which Adams described as “a kick to see 200 to 300 people walking around downtown.”