Guest Column: Gilroy Farmers Market is a Trip Back in Time

Farmers Market Ribbon Cutting

by Zachery Hilton
As I grab our reusable bags from the kitchen pantry and top off the air in our bike tires I am reminded of what it feels like to be a kid again. I either walked or rode my bike to get around town.
You learned your streets this way and your neighbors. You didn’t need a car because everything was offered in town, and when you did get in the car to go to the next town over it felt like the other side of the world. I knew which dogs lived in each yard, and where my classmates lived. We are heading to the Spice of Life Farmer’s Market in Downtown Gilroy. It’s a place where no one is rushing around and time slows down. You can’t find this at your grocery store.
As we are riding we notice more families around us walking towards the same direction. There is always a common wave or hello between the walking/biking community. We find a place to lock up the bikes and are first greeted by the farmers market manager who says hello and welcome!
Here local farms sell their fresh picked fruit and veggies, non-profits get the opportunity to greet the community, bakers share their breads, local artists exhibit their latest creations, colors of seasonal flowers blossom, and the smiles of children are everywhere. A farmer’s market means so much to our community because it allows us to come together once a week and purchase from local farms while keeping revenue local.
I enjoy walking up and down the aisles and doing some grazing first. It’s unique here at the farmers market because you can talk to who farms your produce. Most of it was picked within the last 24 hours, and you can see the freshness of the soil on the roots of the vegetables. You can always try the produce before you buy here, and usually they will be out front handing out samples. It doesn’t get any more local than this. I enjoy asking the Gilroy Demonstration Garden staff what’s in season and how should I cook it? This is what farm-to-table is all about.
Happiness to me comes from seeing children smile when they get to see all the vibrant colors of food, meet the farmers, and learn how to grow food. There’s always fun items like face painting and shaved ice too! I love teaching our children how to connect with fresh food, question where the food you eat comes from, and know what’s good for your health.
It’s important to pass these opportunities onto the next generation. I want to build a greener, sustainable, and clean energy community where everyone decides to leave the cars at home and take that extra time to enjoy the farmer’s market experience.
The thought of walking and biking downtown for the farmer’s market each week is something I suggest you try. Make it your own experience, and share it with others. There is plenty of space to bring some folding chairs and relax. Get some food to go from a local restaurant, sit outside, and eat. Enjoy those fresh cherries you just bought for dessert!
Give the Spice of Life Farmers Market a try. By some local produce, get your child’s face painted, and do some people watching on the corner of Fifth and Monterey streets every Friday 3:30 to 7:30 pm.