The Merced College Farmers’ Market is off and running with the first couple installments under its belt.

The weekly event will take place every Tuesday from 4-7 p.m., showcasing the finest products from vendors across Merced and the surrounding area. It offers Merced residents produce, meat, nuts, olive oil and personal care products at a convenient hour and reasonable price.

The market is a smorgasbord for the patron’s senses with options like brightly colored pumpkins and vine-fresh grapes painting the backdrop in a rainbow of colors, textures and smells. In addition to the quality produce, local ranchers supply their freshest cuts of meat, dried preserves and accompanying seasonings. Located at the Tri-College Center parking lot, the farmers’ market gives the College another positive tie in to the Merced community and an opportunity to showcase some of the school’s amazing programs.

“The convenience is amazing,” a first-time patron said on Tuesday evening. “The hours make it a perfect place to stop by after work, and it gives more options to people that live in different parts of town.”

The idea of a farmers’ market had been expressed around the Merced College campus for years, but Director of Landscape, Farm Management and Special Projects Bryan Tassey took it upon himself to finally make that idea a reality. Tassey saw the school’s Plant Science program and a famers’ market as a perfect pairing.

“It made too much sense,” Tassey said, “It gives the community an alternative to getting fresh food, and it’s local. It also allows those who are unfamiliar with the agriculture world a chance to ask farmers questions in a direct way.”

The farmers were equally eager to bring their crop to a new crowd. Andrew Glikin, a Catheys Valley native and owner of Raw Root Farms, was excited to offer up his tomatoes, peppers and various types of squash to the Merced College crowd.

“We’re bringing some great diversity to a new demographic.” Glikin said, “This current market allows for us to fill a void that has been empty, and the timing couldn’t be better.”

Tassey said that he sees growth in the event’s future, with more businesses gearing up to participate in the coming months.

For more information, check out the Merced College Agriculture Facebook page.

-- Alessandria Pedretti