Community strengthens Carlsbad farmers’ market

Shon Cagungun, staff writer

On Wednesdays and Saturdays, off of Carlsbad Village Drive, the Carlsbad Farmers’ Market sets up for business. Like many similar markets in the San Diego area, a group of vendors assembles here twice a week, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. to conduct business and socialize with the customers. Unlike the other San Diego markets, this one caters mainly to locals and gives back to the Carlsbad community.

According to Christy Johnson, the market manager, this is the beauty of this event. Carlsbad residents gain access to fresh picked produce and stimulate the local economy by buying from local growers mainly out of Fallbrook and Valley Center.

“We got a lot of local regulars,” Johnson said. “Fifty percent of the people we get are people we’ve seen before.”

The vendors and shoppers alike return weekly because of the sense of community. One notable returning vendor, run by Anthony Sitongia, is Kactis-4-Kancer, a non-profit booth that raises money for cancer research. The spirit of the local community is what keeps his booth right here in Carlsbad.

“The people here are kind, wonderful and very supportive,” Sitongia said. “We are a non-profit so it helps to have support.”

Due to such a warm reception, Kactis-4-Kancer calls the Village its home every second Saturday of the month. The busy Saturday crowd is glad to support such a worthy cause. However, the Village market is not always the hustle and bustle that it could be.

“During the winter months it doesn’t seem so busy, but when the sun’s out, people are here shopping,” Sitongia said.

No matter what time of year, the market offers an appeal to students at Carlsbad High School: community service. Johnson invites CHS students to come experience the market the way she has her entire life, for community service hours and perhaps a bit of pocket money.

“I’ve got community service hours for setup and breakdown; it’s fun, easy work,” Johnson said. “Chances are someone will throw you a five or a ten to help them out.”

Johnson and her son David have grown up in farmers’ markets and want the younger members of our community to experience it as they have.

“You can create a stable life for yourself and find a job,” David Johnson said.

The market is here to stay; it will continue to bring Carlsbad together twice a week to enjoy food, music and community, Johnson says. As long as the community is willing to show its support, the vendors are willing to come out and put on this event.

“It’s great when we’re outside in the sunshine,” Johnson said. “We’re a big family; we love coming out and sharing [the] wonderful sights and sounds.”