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New Watsonville farmers’ market offers fresh food, health screenings

Kaiser Permanente is sponsoring the newly opened El Mercado on Main Street.

Increasing access to fresh, healthy food is the aim of a new Watsonville farmers’ market at Ramsay Park, called El Mercado.

Started by the Community Health Trust of Pajaro Valley with Kaiser Permanente as a major sponsor, the seasonal El Mercado is open every Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. through October.

Jose Barajas works at his fresh fruit juice and smoothie stand at El Mercado farmer's market in Watsonville. Kaiser Permanente is a major sponsor of the market.

Jose Barajas works at his fresh fruit juice and smoothie stand at El Mercado farmer's market in Watsonville. Kaiser Permanente is a major sponsor of the market.
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Jose Barajas works at his fresh fruit juice and smoothie stand at El Mercado farmers' market in Watsonville. Kaiser Permanente is a major sponsor of the market.

Farmers from surrounding communities sell fresh fruit and vegetables, and some hot food. The Community Health Trust offers blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar checks and will be doing live cooking demonstrations throughout the summer.

“The idea for the market is that we would put it in a location where access to fresh produce is not necessarily abundant,” said Annie Puckett, programs manager for the trust. “Customers can use food stamps, and we offer vouchers through our service program that can be redeemed for fresh vegetables.”

William MacLean, MD, Kaiser Permanente physician in charge for Santa Cruz County, said sponsoring the market is integral to the organization’s mission.

“Providing access to fresh, healthy food is important to us, and we thank the Community Health Trust of Pajaro Valley for having the vision to get this off the ground,” said Dr. MacLean. “We are proud to be a sponsor of El Mercado and look forward to seeing it grow.”

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farmers' markets

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