Local shoppers browsed the aisles of the Gibson Farm Market on Saturday admiring and tasting some of the freshest produce Fresno State students had to offer at the market’s Fall Festival.
The event featured family attractions such as a pumpkin patch, animal displays and tractors.
“This is my second time here now, and it’s already a tradition,” said Michael Martinez, of Fresno, who attended the festival with his family.
The Gibson market may be famed for its sweet corn, but it had much more to offer Saturday.
“We really want to invite the community in to see all the great things we do here at Fresno State,” said Jeremy Lewis, manager of the market. “It’s really putting their [students’] education to work and showing the community how that education plays into all the different things we do on the farm.”
Families took fall photos in the pumpkin arrangement and with their children sitting in the large tractors.
Fresno State students also brought along a few piglets which were a hit with the younger guests.
Meantime, customers in the store looked through the selection of the fall produce, filling their baskets with a variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and cuts of meat for the barbecue.
A shaded outside area gave guests a place to sit with their families and enjoy some locally grown food in the sun.
Sampling stations gave guests the chance to taste and purchase some of the student-produced wines, meats and ice cream.
Some of the favorites at the festival included the tri-tip sandwiches and a seasonal pumpkin flavored ice cream.
Students also spend their time preparing products to practice their marketing and product sales skills.
Fresno State owns around 1,000 acres of working farmland growing crops such as corn and grapes, raising livestock and even its own independent commercial winery.
The university has become one of the top schools in the nation for those interested in agriculture and attracts students from all over the Central Valley, Lewis said.
Many local farms recruit Fresno State graduates because they have had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, he added.
The Fall Festival aims to bring in more people from the local area to highlight the quality of products that students make, Lewis said, adding a real-world application to their learning experience.
“A lot of people don’t even know we have a meat lab here at Fresno State,” said Juan Ascencio, a senior animal science major. “So being here and actually showing our product, giving out samples to people, and being able to show what we’ve made, I think it’s a great opportunity for us.”