Every Thursday Continental Ranch hosts their own farmers market. For four hours, between 25-35 vendors serve up a wide variety of goods and crafts.
There is everything from fresh produce to custom jams and jellies to hand crafted jewelry. There is a massage chair, homemade soaps and a vendor selling cowboy hats. You can pick up grass fed steaks, high-end cookies and even get a crepe.
Some of the vendors are Marana-based, while most are from elsewhere in southern Arizona and do three to five farmers markets a week.
“It’s a real good market because it is a neighborhood market,” said Bob Meyers of San Rafael Grass Fed Beef, who also happens to be one of the purveyors of the farmers market.
The crowd is very mixed. You get a combination of retirees and parents with small children. On this particular Thursday there were a number of people in their workout clothes, just getting done with a run or a lift.
For area resident Jennifer Folino it was a nice outing for her and her three children. It was only the second time she had come out to the market, and the first since school let out. She picked up some local honey, some baked goods for the kids and also caught a quick massage on her way out.
For her, the farmers market is very convenient.
“It is definitely a good market,” Folino said. “I don’t get to the others markets that are kind of out of the area.”
The vendors are all very different. Some have full time businesses, while others have found a nice way to supplement their incomes.
Louise Epstein is a retired school teacher who makes hand-crafted jewelry. She routinely hits five farmers markets every week, but always carves out time for the Continental Ranch Farmers’ Market. She makes everything from scratch, selecting each bead and stone.
“I spend six to eight hours every day beading,” Epstein explained. “A lot of love and patience goes into each piece.”
Some vendors are local, like the Marana Farmers Co-Op, who use the farmers market to sell fruits and vegetables grown on their farm, but to also promote their farm, which has its own store, petting zoo and a weekend farmers market of their own.
Other vendors travel from a good ways away. Meyers from San Rafael Beef comes up from Patagonia.
All take great pride in what they provide.
“I make everything myself,” said Barbara Carr of We B Jamin’ Farms, who makes a variety of exotic jams and sauces.
“We have a commercial kitchen on the farm,” Carr explained. “I grow as many ingredients as I can.”
Judy Alley of Judy’s Fine Cookies attended just her second farmers market and was getting ready for the lunch push. She bakes what she describes as “high-end cookies.”
Her two most popular cookies are her oatmeal peach pecan cookies and her triple chocolate cookie made with Godiva chocolate and espresso.
The Continental Ranch Farmers Market is every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the corner of Twin Peaks and Coachline in the parking lot behind the Walgreens.