Behind the Scenes: SLO’s Thursday Farmers’ Market

San Luis Obispo, our small, quaint town located in the heart of California’s Central Coast. Having an opportunity to be a college student in this town at Cal Poly is an absolute privilege. Generating story ideas for our Senior Media Practicum course has been both exciting and intriguing because there are things out there about this town that many people may not know about. When my group and I thought about what many people enjoy about SLO, immediately we thought about the routine Thursday Farmers’ Market here each week. Diving in deeper, we came across an article noting that our market was voted “best in the West” by readers in Sunset Magazine. That’s when we decided to cover and report on the uniqueness of our SLO Farmers’ Market and embellish on the constant positivity received by the community and visitors.

The beauty with this story is that all of our footage and interviews were conducted at one place and time altogether at the Thursday evening market. For our A/V element, it was decided that we would feature one unique vendor who has a constant attendance every week. We chose the Harmony Valley Creamery because they drive their own ice cream truck to set up at the market, and the town of Harmony itself only has a population of 18. We reached out to Harmony Valley Creamery to make sure it was alright to interview the employee who would man the truck before the bell rang at six o’clock to start the market. They were more than happy to participate so we were able to get an interview with them before the market started.

View of Harmony Valley Creamery interview behind the camera.

“We had the ease of getting interviews and b-roll done at one event and made it that much smoother that all of the group members could be there. Asked the source for courtesy footage and photos since I wasn’t able to drive out to Harmony. That worked out well since they were very responsive. Overall a fun project and topic,” group member Madi Burgess said.

Madi collecting b-roll for A/V before the market starts.

After that, it was simply all of us walking up and down Higuera, collecting b-roll and interviewing other vendors. With prior communication with the market’s manager, Whitney Chaney, we had also scheduled an interview with her that evening in which she gave us added information on the process of the weekly market and the unique appeal of it as a whole.

“Most markets are only a couple blocks long, but we have a much larger market that is annual and offers not only produce, but entertainment and food vendors.”

-Whitney Chaney

The main struggle we ran into while reporting was plain and simple, the time change. Even though we made our way into town an easy 45 minutes before the start of the market, the sun was already starting to go down and we were running out of daylight. We were prepared and aware of this so we brought a brighter light to attach to the top of our camera for better quality, but it was still rough.

“Due to the change with daylight savings, and the sun setting much earlier in these winter days to come, the entire Farmers’ Market event took place in the dark. I had a lot of trouble capturing quality photos and videos because of this,” group member Jeremy Schmidt said.

Jeremy holding the spare microphone when the clip on wasn’t working.

Overall, just being able to walk around and talk to new people, while learning about their business was a gratifying experience. This truly is an event that brings the community together and welcomes newcomers with open arms.

“This event was fun to cover! I was word for this project and it has been awhile since I had written an article, so it was great to refresh my skills,” group member Erin Gabel said.

We encourage everyone to make their way down to the annual Thursday Farmers’ Market if you haven’t done so already. You won’t regret it : )