Modesto’s downtown farmers market launches early Saturday winter season amid pandemic

·2 min read

The Modesto Certified Farmers Market returns to downtown this weekend for its Winter Market season, the second year the open-air event has started early in response to the pandemic.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, the regular season typically ran from March to November, with a few Saturday-only dates in December. But last year, market manager Shiela Burch said they decided to launch early to give vendors more opportunities amid the disruption of the ongoing pandemic.

“Last year, we opened early for the first time, due to the pandemic, and it was well received. We have more vendors coming back early this year,” Burch said. “Because of the pandemic, the interest was there and we wanted to make sure there was a place for our vendors to go.”

The Winter Market runs 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, Jan. 22 to March 26, along 16th Street next to the Modesto Library. The regular season will start directly after, with Thursday and Saturday markets running at the same times until Nov. 17. The Saturday markets will continue longer, until Dec. 17.

Burch has about 48 vendors lined up for the Winter Market, which is a little less than the typical 55 to 65 the market has during its regular season. Burch said returning favorites and new hot and prepared food vendors will be part of the early season.

Some of the new food options include local agua fresca seller Fancy Sweets 209, Bay Area-based boa bun makers BunBao and Modesto’s Noah’s BBQ.

Some of the returning favorites include Foxwood Catering (which will debut its new food truck at the market), as well as Southeast Asia Grill (which recently opened a new brick and mortar takeout restaurant) and Culture Coffee Bar (which is in the process of building out its first cafe location in Modesto).

Southeast Asia Grill at the Farmers Market in Modesto, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.
Southeast Asia Grill at the Farmers Market in Modesto, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.

Now in its 43rd season, the market has been able to mostly keep a consistent schedule throughout the pandemic. In 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the downtown market season was delayed by two weeks — from March 19 to April 2 — before returning to its regular open-air format with enhanced safety measures in place.

For more information on the Modesto market, call 209-390-9098 or visit www.modestocfm.com.

Modesto Certified Farmers Market in Modesto, Calif., Thursday, March 14, 2019.
Modesto Certified Farmers Market in Modesto, Calif., Thursday, March 14, 2019.
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