Cupertino’s farmers’ market: Vendors’ views and business management

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Harini Shyamsundar

Reporting by Sarah Weinberg. Photos by Kristin Chang.
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Emily Jacobs, a junior at Saratoga High School, does homework and goes to classes five days a week — just like any other student her age.

But she is also a successful working professional. Since the age of 12, Jacobs has been a personal chef for families in Palo Alto. Her sophomore year of high school, she took her passion for fine cuisine to the next level. In addition to being personal chef, she runs her own business; Jacobs makes and sells desserts like macaroons and creme brulees at local farmers’ Markets.

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She knows every part of her business because she does everything herself. She prepares the ingredients during the week. On Fridays, she does the cooking; from five in the afternoon to eleven at night, she is at the the commercial kitchen that she rents. Then, on weekends she goes to each of her three farmers’ markets. And even after the selling, the work is not over; she manages to do all of her homework on Sunday evenings.

“Farmers’ markets really help the local economy,” Jacobs said. “For people like this — for people like me — it’s hard to get into big grocery stores and they need to produce a huge volume in order to even be considered.”

 

Whilst she might be one of the youngest, Emily Jacobs is certainly not the only vendor who spends her Sunday mornings sitting patiently behind a stall at the West Coast Farmers’ Market, watching customers flit by and by. In fact, there is a plethora of different vendors who make a home for themselves on Stevens Creek Blvd.

Q&A with vendor Rafael Calvillo of Brothers Ranch:

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El Estoque: Why are farmers’ markets important?
Rafael Calvillo: Everything is local at a farmers’ market, which is rarely the case at large grocery chains. You should know what you put in your body and farmers’ market shoppers know where their food comes from.
EE: What’s your favorite part about working at a farmers’ market?
RC: Working at a farmers’ market is a great experience because of the customer service aspect. You get to meet all kinds of people and represent where you are coming from. I love every part of it.
EE: What makes the West Coast Farmers’ Market special?
RC: The West Coast farmers’ market is a very enjoyable environment. If you want to have a good time at a farmers’ Market, Cupertino’s local one is the best way to go.

 

Q&A with stand manager Monica Ortega:

El Estoque: Why do you think people should shop at farmers’ markets?
15221418778_0e0b348b2d_zMonica Ortega: We have the fruit fresh. I think it’s healthier. It’s from the ground to the table; it’s as fresh as you can get.
EE: How do the different farmers’ markets that you go to compare?
MO: Every place is unique. I have gone to so many different markets. We come to the West Coast Farmers’ Market even though it is a long drive. The drive is two hours away from Houston, the location of our farm. Houston is a small town about ten minutes away from Modesto. It’s kind of tiring, but it’s worth it.

Click here or here to read more about the West Coast Farmers’ Market…