Community members celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Berkeley farmers market at their Tuesday location on the 1900 block of Derby Street with food, speakers and music.
Children from the YMCA Learning Academy, located in South Berkeley, headed off the program, singing “Happy Birthday” to the market and a camp song. Shirley Brower, executive director of the academy, said that she has been bringing children from the academy to the market for the last five years.
“Our focus is on organic eating,” said Brower. “We have had concerns about children’s eating. We had concerns that their favorite place to go was McDonald’s. The market allows us to do hands-on learning.”
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates was among the speakers, noting that he and his wife, Assemblymember Loni Hancock, regularly shop at the market.
Also, neighbor, longtime supporter of the farmers’ market and School Board Director John Selawsky said it was a day for celebration.
“There’s good food and good people,” said Selawsky. “It’s the essence of the farmers market. My wife and I were one of its first and steadiest customers. It’s really such a great institution.”
After the program ended, musicians from the community came on stage to play for the remainder of the event, while volunteers served up burgers, vegetarian foods and desserts.
Judith Redmond of Full Belly Farms has been coming to the farmers market since it opened two decades ago.
“I’ve been here since it started,” said Redmond, whose farm sells greens, watermelon, broccoli and nectarines. “We knew that we would enjoy the community here. It’s great because it is run by a non-profit, the Ecology Center. I love getting to know people and making new friends here.”
A small farm called Guru Ram Das Orchards, run by Didar Singh, is another veteran at the Tuesday market.
“I came here in the summer of 1989,” said Singh, who is known for his great organic Valencia oranges. “I love everything about the market. I’ve been very grateful for the support I’ve been receiving over the years and all the nice people I’ve met. We sell a good 60 to 65 percent of our produce at the market here.”
Photograph by Rio Bauce.
Judith Redmond of Full Belly Farms holds a nectarine at Tuesday’s 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Berkeley Derby Street farmers market.