By Bridgette Eichelberger ‘14
Every Sunday at eight in the morning, the unremarkable pavement on Second Street between Indian Hill and Yale sprouts Easy-Up awnings and plastic folding tables. Flatbeds full of plants and trucks full of fresh fruit are polished and made ready for sale.
The Claremont Farmer’s Market is a short walk or a quick bike ride away from Harvey Mudd- even though there are no bike racks, there are plenty of street signs that encourage creative use of bike locks.
True to its name, the Farmer’s Market sports abundant fresh produce. Boxes of strawberries and cartons of dates compete with a plethora of squash and dozens of varieties of root vegetables from Weiser Farms.
Customers throng around the tent of a local family-owned bakery for loaves of fresh bread. The hot ticket items are sliced sourdough and French baguettes, but loaves of wheat and rye, piled next to a variety of dinner rolls, also sell quickly. The bakery offers a dollar discount to students on the 5-C’s; since most loaves are three dollars, students can buy a fresh loaf for only two.
Taking advantage of Claremont’s perfect climate, a landscaper lines up flowering rows of rose bushes in ten gallon buckets. Several orchid sellers were locked in a fierce price battle, and the price of a small orchid dropped to three dollars, while Aroma sold orchids the size of small trees for twenty dollars.
Orchids, which thrive under florescent lighting and require infrequent watering, are perfect for a dorm room in need of a classy touch. For less successful plant lovers, small drought-tolerant succulents and cacti sold for one dollar.
As in every crafts fair or farmers market, local artists also pitch tents and display their work. Recycled glass crafts have become ubiquitous this season, and the Claremont Farmer’s Market boasts a vendor who sells iridescent coasters and jewelry boxes.
Next to the recycled glass is a tent full of original prints with bold earthy colors reminiscent of Mexican artwork. However, college students beware: most of the artwork is well beyond a typical student’s spending money.
By ten-thirty, nearly all of the brown farm fresh organic eggs (four dollars for a dozen) were sold, so serious shoppers should plan on arriving before eleven.
The Claremont Farmer’s Market runs until one in the afternoon every Sunday.