Issue link: http://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/709503
the Del Monte and Carmel mar- kets, for example, while local chefs frequently shop the MPC market. "The chefs come early in the morning and pick out their pro- duce for the weekend. Many don't even bring a list. They just see what's available and build menus around those fresh ingredients," says MBCFM Executive Director Catherine Barr. "They're all in their uniforms, talking to each other, and it's a real community feel." Barr also links that community atmosphere to loyal customers who return week after week, including parents who once shopped with their children and now stroll the stands with their grandchildren. Several participat- ing vendors are second- and third-generation farmers, too. In addition to making sales, producers find valuable networking oppor tunities at the MBCFM events. "It's a great way for farmers to get out and socialize. They love talking about their growing practices and produce, and they spend a lot of time educating the community," Barr says. Educational effor ts include introducing cus- tomers to lesser-known vari- eties that conventional grocers might not carry. Barr recalls the late 1970s, when kiwis were new to many shoppers. California growers built aware- ness by dispensing samples and recipes at farmers markets. Today, producers share under- the-radar types of beans and distribute slices of newcomers like apriums and pluots (apricot and plum crosses). "We have one farmer from Stockton who usually has 15 varieties of cherries that people have never heard of. He gets them to look beyond Bings and try different types," Barr says. MBCFM Chef-In-Residence Andrew Cohen often mixes with markets shop- pers. He aims to make unfamiliar ingredients more accessible by offering advice and holding cooking demonstrations. He also contributes to Edible Paradise, the organization's website that 238 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S U M M E R / F A L L 2 0 1 6 Pacific Grove residents Emily and Cru Pagnella enjoy tasting apple varieties at the farmers market. The Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Markets (MBCFM) includes locations in Carmel in the Barnyard Shopping Center, in Monterey at the Del Monte Center and at Monterey Peninsula College. The original market began in Aptos and is still going strong.