Food & Drink

A new farmers market is coming to Cal Poly, featuring food produced by students

Tour the Downtown SLO Farmers Market

Scenes from the Downtown San Luis Obispo Farmers Market, which runs year-round. There's music, barbecue and, of course, fresh fruits and vegetables.
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Scenes from the Downtown San Luis Obispo Farmers Market, which runs year-round. There's music, barbecue and, of course, fresh fruits and vegetables.

A new farmers market is bringing fresh, locally grown fruit, veggies and meat to the Cal Poly campus — and you can buy a wide varietyof products made by students.

The Cal Poly Farmers’ Market kicks off Tuesday afternoon on Mustang Way near the University Union, according to a news release.

Cal Poly’s Campus Health & Wellbeing department will host the farmers market on a biweekly basis — 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of every month — from May through November, the release said.

“It’s really exciting that we’re able to really infuse a culture of health and wellbeing in our campus,” said Christine Nelson, health educator for Campus Health & Wellbeing.

According to Nelson, the Cal Poly Farmers’ Market will offer seven or eight vendors to start with, with plans to increase to a total of 10 in July.

The farmers market will feature Cal Poly-grown organic produce, as well as eggs, cheese, ice cream, jam and chocolate produced by Cal Poly students. It’s not clear at this point whether Cal Poly Meats will be participating, she said.

Local farmers and food producers are also involved, she said, including Sasquatch Sourdough in Arroyo Grande and Red Barn Farms and Surfside Farm in San Luis Obispo.

Other vendors include Bee Wench Farm in Shandon, which specializes in eggs, bone broth and pasture-raised pork and chicken, and Kandarian Organic Farms in Los Osos, which grows ancient grains, lentils and fava beans, among other crops.

BeeWench Farm in Shandon specializes in pasture-raised meats including chicken. The farm is one of several local vendors participating in the new Cal Poly Farmers’ Market.

While they shop, visitors can groove to live music and snack on food truck offerings from Cal Poly Campus Dining, Nelson said.

Although the farmers market is aimed at Cal Poly students, faculty and staff members, Nelson said community members are free to shop there too.

Campus Health & Wellbeing is partnering with Cal Poly Orientation so new students and their parents can have a taste, too, she said.

Depending on the response, Nelson said the Cal Poly Farmers’ Market could expand to a weekly market in 2020.

Cal Poly student Zach Burch, who’s studying agriculture business, will serve as market manager, Nelson said. Burch created an Instagram account for the Cal Poly Farmers’ Market as a student project, she said.

Funding for the farmers market comes from a $130,000 grant to Cal Poly from the California State University Chancellor’s Office. That 2018 grant included $30,000 for the university’s Sustainable Food Hub Project, which provides “accessible services, support and resources” such as the Community Garden and the Cal Poly Food Pantry, the release said.

The farmers market project was developed in collaboration with LocalsOwn, Cal Poly Sustainability, Dean of Students, Student Affairs Technology and University Honors Program, the University Honors Program, according to the release.

Cal Poly students learn skills at the meat processing facility that apply to veterinary, food safety, animal husbandry and other related fields.

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Entertainment editor Sarah Linn writes about all things fun, including movies, television, the performing arts, the visual arts and the best places to eat and drink in San Luis Obispo County. A graduate of Oregon State University, she has worked for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo for more than a decade and has earned multiple California journalism awards.