A day at the midtown farmers market


Photo By Jessica Sheppard

Exploring the midtown farmers market and all the stalls they have to offer

Jessica Sheppard, Staff writer

Drums and whistles fill the air, as the smells of fresh flowers and food attack your nose, and life hums amongst the stalls. The vendors at the midtown market bring variety to the capital and allows people of all ages to celebrate small businesses in the local area. 


Denise Pember, owner of Pawpa Flavors, selling seasonings and rubs that range in flavor from lemon lime pepper, to Pawpa Barely Hot. Approaching her stall, the bright red banner with a bear in sunglasses greets you, as your eyes wander to the pros of the product like the fact that they’re all natural with no non-caking additives or preservatives.


“ I left him (my husband) home alone while me and my daughters and my granddaughter when the day came home like what are you doing, he’s like, I think I can do it,” said Pember. “And he did it, he made our entire spice cabinet into a new spice cabinet.”


The business originally started in Roseville and they have been a part of multiple markets before but when they received an invitation to join the Midtown market they accepted. Since they opened the stall they were allowed before COVID to let their customers taste the seasonings one in particular stood out. 


“ OMG garlic got its name because my customers’ exact comments the moment they tasted it was, oh my god. Oh my god,” said Pember. The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home and in this story these seasonings will be the heart of many kitchens.


As you walked along the street, a man with an eye-catching van and colors from bags to post cards stood out from the crowd. John Stevenson, an edgy designer set up this stall and has recently come out with a new collection.


“ I’ve always been in retail brick and mortar, so this is sort of fresh and new,” said Stevenson. “ I took this van and I just came to the market now to open the doors.”


He moved to Sacramento from Sonoma county 15 years ago and with pandemic restricting the brick and mortar retail this changed his perspective. Choosing this market was not difficult for Stevenson.


“ This is one of the best markets in the Sacramento area and Sacramento is sort of up and coming and growing and people are moving to the area,” said Stevenson. His designs may be too provocative for some but they allow customers to truly express themselves. 


The market plays hosts to a variety of interests from fashion and food to microgreens. With Sacramento being the farm to fork capital stalls like Pierre’s companion farms allows people to diversify their pallet.


“ One of our best selling items is our deluxe mix so you get about seven different microgreens in there from exotic stuff like carrot, amaranth, purple radish, and some spicy purple Southern mustard,” said Pierre. 


Brave flavors and bold combinations aside, this business initially started as a side hobby for Pierre in Linda, a small town outside of Marysville and the business continues to grow. His stall is approachable with the soft green looking grass and the delicate looking greens ready to greet new customers.


“ So I’ve been in business for about a year and I’m in 10 farmers markets and three grocery stores,” said Pierre. “My main hobby was actually growing microgreens but I actually worked for the Department of Corrections full time.”


Diversity in the city and the surrounding areas is not only a cornerstone to the capital but to the farmers market. Being able to meet people and take advantage of their passions and help their businesses grow is someone of any age can do.


“ I got an art degree in college and I’ve never really been able to use it but I’ve always wanted to work with art. I mean, I thought I would end up in a museum curating,” said Angelia Rugani artist of Oyster art gallery.


She decided to invest in her art again during this pandemic and joining a plethora of vendors. Displaying her beautiful designs in frames that fit any estetic. 


“ When I got laid off during COVID I just started fooling around with graphic design on my computer and I tried it out pulling my inspiration from other artists,” said Rugani. 


As you are getting ready to leave the hustle and bustle of the event you are played out once again by a cousin duo of drummers who give the event what seems a beating heart. As the smells leave your nose, and you drift back into the reality of downtown you can’t help but feel excited about the day.


Although possibly one of the most Californian activities, it is what makes this blue sky with no chance of cloud state amazing. The fact that all of these interests and people can be in one space and create harmony is something to have pride in.