Picnic at the Park returns to Davis for spring, summer, fall
The Davis farmers market welcomed back Picnic in the Park for the warmer season starting March 11. Fans of the smaller winter market can enjoy a broader selection of fruit, vegetables and fresh food from a bustling open marketplace. The event is held every Wednesday, year-round, except the winter months, and takes place in Central Park off of B St. in Davis. The music and vendors start at 4:30 p.m. and pack up around sunset.
Debbie Ramming, the assistant manager to the farmers market, said that during the summer when attendance is high, it seems as though all of Davis is out on the lawn.
“There’s many nights when you can’t even see the grass — there’s so many people,” Ramming said. “And it’s a lot of fun because you don’t have to think about cooking, it’s hot, you can sit and listen to some good music, the kids can play, there’s bounce houses, there’s pony rides. We provide a lot of stuff for people to do.”
A longstanding tradition in the city, Picnic in the Park can have up to 80 vendors and live music every week. Ramming explained that many of the vendors and staff have been here since the start of the tradition.
“The farmers that started the market are still vendors here, some of them have been selling for most of the 42 years,” Ramming said.
Though the first two weeks of the Picnic saw low attendance due to inclement weather, the season is looking up with the addition of new picnic tables under a shelter. During peak season, thousands of people flock to the central park of Davis to enjoy the sun and tasty treats.
Margaret Waterhouse is the owner and baker of W. Margaron, a macaron table at the farmers market. She began making macarons in high school and now runs a table at the Wednesday market, where she said she loves the family atmosphere.
“People come out here and take advantage of the gift that it is,” Waterhouse said. “You can let your kids run around and there’s a ton of quality dining options. During summer, I love to get the super ripe cherries — things that are truly local and in season. It makes a huge difference in the quality and taste.”
The lineup of music this year includes a range of genres, from bluegrass to indie rock bands. Musicians serenade picnickers from the lawn and encourage dancing on the grass.
Brad Gill, a vendor with Achadinha Cheese, said the greatest thing about Picnic in the Park was the ambiance.
“It has to be the music — it gets everyone pumped up,” Gill said. “They had a really good cover band one of the last nights I was here. They brought in a ton of people for us.”
On a good day, Gill can sell over $800 of cheese at the market. His company, Achadinha, is owned by Dave Pacheco and distributes across the state.
“I think we’re special because we’re the only company that do Portuguese cheese in the United States,” Gill said. “We also make a blend of goat and cow’s milk that’s rare to see.”
A longtime Picnic in the Park vendor and frequent vendor of the UC Davis campus farmers market is Riffat Ahmad. He can be seen selling boxes full of apples, plums and Asian pears. This is his 25th year at the market.
“Hopefully if the weather permits, it’s good times and there’s many more people here,” Ahmad said.
Written by: Genevieve Murphy-Skilling — firstname.lastname@example.org