The hustle and bustle of the farmers market is something many a Westmont student and Santa Barbaran has taken advantage. Since 1982, this market has run every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 119 East Cota Street.
Every week, dozens of booths, spanning from fruit to flowers, invite folks to partake in the glorious madness. Westmont student and frequent customer Grace Crandall shared these sentiments as she described her experience: “I love the refreshing feeling I get walking through the aisles full of beautiful flowers.” The liveliness surely draws a crowd and the vendors feed off of the energy, movin’ and shakin’ their various goods.
Lavender farmer Melissa Broughton sets out her sweet little products ripe for the picking and said she just loves getting to know the guests and fellow vendors. “I especially love being by the flower lady,” she said. Many of Broughton’s fun lavender creations are on Instagram @JuneBloomLavender.
One Westmont student loved the farmers market so much, she decided to join those standing on the other side of the booth. Brooklyn Nash is a senior this year and began her journey at the market by getting to know the vendors as she did her weekly shopping. She became friends with the owner of Sweet Mountain Top, a medicinal herb and flower farm in Carpinteria, and was hired as part of their all-female farm team.
She has thrived there and in the market environment. Nash identified her favorite part of working at the farmers market as “getting to create a relationship with the people who buy your product.” as her favorite part of working at the farmers market specifically. A lot of vendors feel this way: their customers are what make the experience so worth it.
As she handed out peaches and plums, Tana Howard, manning the stand for Burkdoll Farms, remarked, “I get to meet people from all over the world!”
A trademark of this market is the musicians who settle in, hoping to entertain and make a few bucks along the way. As Isaac Siebelink, a Senior at Westmont who busks at the market explained, “I make a considerable amount of money just from leaving my instrument case open while I play music — Santa Barbara residents are generous to capable artists.”
In addition to making money, Siebelink noted that by busking, “You are giving other people joy by practicing your art and practicing it well. People love to see people performing, even more so if you do so with excellence and with joy.”
The Saturday farmers market draws customers from the local community and also beckons tourists from all around. Though it can be hard to fight through the crowds, many can attest that the sights and smells of this market are hard to beat. It’s a gathering place for many and has proven popular these 38 years.