As spring nears, the farm market features plant sales

Patrons of the Gibson Market wait patiently in line in order to receive their deals on plants during Gibson Market Spring Plant Sale on March 10, 2018. The annual sale is hosted by the Fresno State Horticulture Nursery and provides the public with special priced organic and conventional spring plants. (Benjamin Cruz/The Collegian)

Plants grown by Fresno State students were sold Saturday at the Gibson Farm Market in hopes of raising funds for the campus nursery and farm.

The Horticulture Nursery’s Spring Plant Sale featured discounted organic and conventional spring vegetable seedlings and fruit trees.

“All of our plants are grown by our students and are grown on site so they are acclimated to our conditions,” said Calliope Correia, an instructional support technician from the department of plant science.

She said the event allowed students’ hard work to be seen and utilized by the community.

“It’s our time to interact with the public and show off what amazing things are happening and being grown throughout the farm,” Correia said. “There is a strong sense of pride in the students when they can sell something that they have nurtured and grown from the very beginning.”

It was the fifth annual spring plant sale, and the most popular plant of the day was tomatoes, Correia said.

Some of the other plants available included blackberry, blueberry, strawberry, cucumber, eggplant, zucchini and dandelion.

Fresno State alumna Elizabeth Thomasian brought her own wagons to carry the plants. She picked out an apricot tree as well as tomatoes, squash, eggplant, zucchini and strawberry for her home garden.

“Usually the Fresno State variety I find to be a stronger producer, and they usually have more flavor than the everyday variety that you would purchase from, say, Home Depot or Lowe’s,” Thomasian said.

Alan Preston, an instructional support technician from the chemistry department, came to get tomatoes and peppers for salsa. He said he was pleased by the variety of plants for sale.

“The horticulture greenhouse seems to bring in some different varieties that you wouldn’t find anywhere at the big-box stores. Especially today, the price is great because everything’s discounted,” Preston said.

In addition to the plants, the Gibson Farm Market also featured some sales and new products of its own.

Fresh citrus and dried mangoes were available to shoppers. Hot dogs and bacon products were 25 percent off, and Fresno State-made jams were 15 percent off, said Emily Baker, a marketing intern at the market.

“Not only are [shoppers] getting plants on sale, but then they get to come in and see what else our campus has to offer, whether it be the dairy products or the nuts or the meat,” Baker said.

The food processing unit was also offering different flavors of jam to sample. Culinology major Andrea Valdovinos had strawberry, mango and blueberry jams for customers to taste.

Valdovinos explained that the jams are made in a half-jacketed kettle that allows for steam production and control while frozen fruit and sugar cook inside. Other ingredients, like pectin or citric acid, may be added depending on the jam.

“For me, I feel like store-bought ones have a lot of other things added to them, and these – it’s mainly just fruit,” Valdovinos said. “We try to keep away from adding too much.”

By the end of the day, Correia said, around 800 people had come to the event.

Fifteen minutes before the 9 a.m. opening, she said there were easily 100 people there.

“It was incredible,” she said.

Correia said that anyone can garden, whether it be on acres of land or just an indoor plant.

“Gardening is good for the soul,” she said. “We are lucky to live in a climate we can garden year round.”

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