2022 Ag Spotlight: North County Farmers Market
Meet Robyn Gable of North County Farmers Markets and SLO Creek Farms
You might have run into Robyn Gable at one of the North County Farmers Markets across San Luis Obispo County. Or perhaps she greeted you at SLO Creek Farms, a certified organic apple orchard near Avila Beach.
An experienced farmer, Gable manages both operations. But that wasn’t always the case. She started as a seller at the farmers markets, which happen Saturday mornings in Templeton, Monday afternoons in Baywood, Tuesday mornings in Paso Robles, and Wednesday afternoons in Atascadero.
"There became a need for a new manager. I stepped up, submitted my application and got the job. I have been doing it for eight years now," Robyn said.
She describes farmers markets as "a place where hard-working farmers bring local fresh produce to local communities for customers to enjoy.”
She also loves that “the markets are held outdoors and are a welcoming, family environment where you will see friends and get to know your neighbors and community growers."
Some fun facts about North County Farmers Markets:
Many people think that you can only pay with cash at farmers markets, but that’s not the case. Customers can use their credit or debit cards to purchase tokens to spend at the markets.
North County Farmers Markets also offers an EBT “Market Match” where customers using EBT can get a match for up to $15 to spend. If one were to attend all four markets, they could receive an additional $60 in produce!
"Farmers markets offer fresher produce—oftentimes the items are picked the same day or the day before," she said. "You can get to know your farmers and how things are grown. By shopping at the farmers market, you are supporting many farmers and families at one location."
Like many farmers, Robyn’s favorite part of being in the ag community is the camaraderie.
"Every seller’s goal is to help the customers and the other farmers. If their booth doesn’t sell the item the customer is looking for, they will refer them to another. It’s a close community. Everyone jumps in to help each other,” she said. “They’re neighbors wanting to help each other."
What's the greatest challenge farmers like Robyn face?
"The new regulations coming down," she said.
This includes water restrictions and safety measures for testing for nitrates and other contaminants. Labor and fuel also weigh heavily on farmers' minds.
"The cost of fuel to travel to the markets to sell their produce. A lot of farmers are trying to add deliveries and rethink how they do things to make it work for them financially, but it’s very grueling," she said. "The farmers can’t sell at the market and work their farm as well. They are just pulled in too many directions."