Pasco's farmer's market kicks off during Cinco de Mayo celebration

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldMay 4, 2013 

PASCO -- After getting off work early Saturday, Patricia Rolon was hungry and knew she'd find good eats at the Cinco de Mayo celebration in downtown Pasco.

So, Rolon and friend America Morales decided to take in some Mexican heritage with their two young daughters.

"It's so pretty out," Rolon said. "People are out enjoying the day, and different things and unusual things."

The first thing the women did was grab some fresh tacos and horchata, followed by churros and paletas, or Mexican ice pops. Rolon's 1-year-old, Eelianna, and Morales' 2-year-old, Nayleen, both tried a little bit of everything.

"We've been eating this whole time," said Morales, while Rolon joked that they're saving gas by buying their food all in one location.

Rolon said that when she was a little girl, she would ride on a big truck in the parade, throwing candy out at the crowds.

She's glad to see the Downtown Pasco Development Authority is continuing the annual event -- after it was canceled in 2012 -- but admits it's not the same as her youth when the streets would be packed.

"Back then it used to be so big and awesome," she said.

However, people still were drawn to this year's party commemorating the Mexican army's victory over French forces in 1862. It coincided with the first day of the Pasco Farmers Market.

Landon Rowley, "owner-to-be" of Rowley & Hawkins Fruit Farm, said opening day went very well at their booth.

"Surprisingly there were more people than I thought," said Rowley, who's in the process of taking over for his dad after recently graduating from Brigham Young University.

He said there was a good vibe and atmosphere around the market, with people eager to buy up fresh fruit and vegetables from all of the farmers once they realized it was locally grown.

The Basin City vendor sold jams, jellies, dried cherries, cherry concentrate, cherry-apple and apple cider and a few Fuji apples, but the big draw was the asparagus.

"I think people overall were very excited," said Rowley, noting that some customers wanted to know when their favorite produce would be available. "You can't beat fresh."

A couple of rows over, Fidelina Castaneda said sales weren't so great Saturday because of the "terrible" winds that kept whipping her tent. When she set up in the morning near Fourth Avenue, the air had been much calmer.

The Kennewick woman makes aprons, blankets and dolls. She also grows flowers -- including peonies, lilies and dahlias -- but those won't be ready until at least June, she said.

When Sammie Engelke learned that daughter Linda Smith and adopted daughter Jeri Mandel would be visiting from Portland, she tried to come up with activities for the weekend.

They knew the farmers market was a must, but then found themselves wandering around the Cinco de Mayo booths and enjoying the festivities.

"It's a great way to get to know the culture," said Engelke of Kennewick.

Mandel was happy to stand in line for a chilled coconut, which had a hole cut in the top and a straw to drink the milk.

"It's as natural as it can get," she said with a big smile on her face. "It's very refreshing and very good actually."

The group also bought an apron and a salsa mix packet.

"I think it's great. It's a way to get to know the area," Mandel said. "I've never been here before, and I get to know some fun things and some local things."

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service