Thursday, November 15 , 2018, 4:27 pm | Fair 67º


New Weekly Farmers Market at UCSB Provides a Fresh Alternative

The Gaucho Certified Farmers Market, open for business every Wednesday, is already proving popular with the campus community

Veronica Emrich bit into a strawberry sample, pausing a moment in thought before doling out the dollars to pay for a batch of the locally grown produce.

The UCSB junior placed the bundle into her reusable bag — atop the already gathered guavas — and sauntered to the next booth at the campus farmers market, where spaghetti squash, carrots, lettuce and other colorful fruits and vegetables appeared for the taking.

“I’m loving this!” Emrich said of Wednesday’s official kickoff of the Gaucho Certified Farmers Market.

As an environmental studies and economics major, Emrich said she especially understood and appreciated the fresh market, which will be hosted every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in parking lot 23.

The fact that the weekly farmers market is within easy eyesight of her ICON apartment is mere icing on the cake.

“Literally, it’s in my backyard,” Emrich told Noozhawk. “I’ve always been into the farmers market scene. I’ll be coming every week. I’m inviting all my friends. It’s much easier to come here than Trader Joe’s. I’m excited.”

One need only follow the pack of reusable bag-wielding fast walkers to find the latest addition to the already eco-minded university campus.

About a dozen produce and food vendors set up shop in the parking lot Wednesday, while a live band and food trucks waited for a mob of students and staff to arrive right around noon.

farmers market
The new farmers market at UCSB features plenty of fresh produce. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

“You can tell when the classes get out,” said Adam Rondepierre, a 2010 UCSB grad who worked an organic produce booth for Ellwood Canyon Farms in Goleta.

The market drew hundreds of visitors last Wednesday during a soft launch, which only reassured organizers that they wisely chose a final project for their six-month learning program.

Roane Akchurin was one of 10 university staff and volunteers who participated in the Gaucho U course, which spurned the market idea.

“It was standing-room only,” Akchurin said of last week’s event. “It’s all about the local produce.”

Wednesday’s market featured produce grown within a 150-mile radius and a weekly education component — this week explaining the art of fermentation.

Sure enough, right at noon, customers began to steadily arrive on foot, car, bicycle and skateboard. 

“The word is out,” Akchurin said. “We really want to have the community come, too. The more, the merrier.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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