Market offers homegrown bounty

Leo Raygoza and market master Tom Dundas at the weekly Bridgeport Farmers Market. (Adrienne Douke photo)

 

By Adrienne Douke
Empire Press Correspondent

With their tables piled high with summer’s bounty, area vendors gathered at the Bridgeport Fireman’s Park Friday morning for the farmers market. Leo Raygoza travels from Moses Lake to sell his watermelons, cantaloupes and honeydews. “I’m the watermelon man. I’ve been coming to the Bridgeport farmers market for over 10 years. I always sell enough melons to make the trip worth it,” Raygoza said.

Rafael Avina’s table holds fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers and four different varieties of grapes. “All of my fruits and vegetables are grown pesticide-free,” Avina said.

Avina loves farming. “I’ve been farming since I was a kid, and I still love to get my hands in the dirt. I love the growing season. Farming is rewarding, especially when people appreciate it,” Avina said. “Have you ever tried kohlrabi?,” he added as he picked up the unusual-shaped vegetable. Shaped like a rutabaga, it tastes like a juicy, spicy cabbage, and soon becomes a regular staple in the basket of vegetables. “It can be eaten raw or in stir fry. I like it best raw,” he said as he shared a piece.

Ken Shrable enjoys coming to the farmers market to socialize and sell his flavored apple chips. His best-sellers are the raspberry-flavored chips. “Can’t keep ‘em in stock,” Shrable said. “I think the raspberry compliments the apple taste,” he added.

The Bridgeport farmers market is held every Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Fireman’s Park. It begins in mid-June and ends in October. “Or the first frost, whichever comes first,” organizer and market master Tom Dundas said.

Dundas raises tree fruit and began coming to the market many years ago when it was held at the Bridgeport Quickie Mart. About five years ago, the market moved to Fireman’s Park and everyone agreed it is a great place to hold it because of the tall shade trees. “It stays nice and cool down here,” Dundas said. His table held brightly colored peaches, plums and nectarines. “It costs $5 for a booth, and we encourage both buyers and sellers to come join us Friday mornings. It’s a lot of fun.”

The farmers market in Bridgeport is not limited to just fruit and vegetables. “We also invite local craftspeople to come with their homemade and handmade items, and if someone wanted to play music we’re always ready to pass the hat,” Dundas said.

With harvest season in full swing, everything crisp, crunchy, delicious and healthy can be found at the local farmers market, and the Bridgeport farmers market offers some great fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices.

 

Rafael Avina is one of several vendors who comes weekly with a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to Bridgeport's Farmers Market at Fireman's Park. (Adrienne Douke photo)

Rafael Avina is one of several vendors who comes weekly with a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to Bridgeport’s Farmers Market at Fireman’s Park. (Adrienne Douke photo)