Janie Holland, community ambassador for Freshest Cargo’s North Richmond stop, attempts to engage every person walking past the parking lot of McGlothen Temple Church of God in Christ.
“Come get some fruit,” Holland says. This is her routine every Wednesday. She knows most of the people who have gathered at the food truck selling only fresh fruits and vegetables. She points out the regulars and names a few people whom she expects to show up before the truck leaves.
“It’s so good to have fresh fruit in this neighborhood,” Holland says. Her title is community building and resident services director for the Community Housing Development Corporation. When Freshest Cargo reached out to her, Holland insisted that the truck make Fred Jackson Way one of its Richmond stops. “This is a food desert,” she said.
Freshest Cargo is a mobile farmer’s market run by Fresh Approach. The truck makes three stops per day, Tuesday through Saturday in Contra Costa County. Its goal is to reach communities that lack access to fresh, locally grown produce. On Wednesdays, the truck stops at the West Contra Costa YMCA, North Richmond, and Parchester Village.
“I started with the company because I totally believe in the mission,” says Lisa Quaid, who makes all of the Richmond stops. “I believe that access to fresh fruit and vegetables is a right and not a privilege.”
Drivers visit local farmer’s markets in the morning to pick up fresh produce for delivery. Then the truck, supported by a USDA grant, offers pesticide-free and sometimes organic fruits and vegetables at a discounted price.
“I come here every Wednesday,” said Linetta Cooper, who lives and works in the area. She says the tomatoes, cabbage, and plums are especially good at the truck. “The first time I tried organic fruits and vegetables was at this truck.”
To increase accessibility, Freshest Cargo accepts EBT, WIC and Senior Farmer’s Market Checks.
“At first people were just grabbing one piece of fruit for lunch,” says Holland, “now they are really shopping.”
Mobile Market Schedule
10am-11:30am | West Contra Costa YMCA • Maine Ave. at S. 19th St., Richmond
12pm-1:30pm | North Richmond • Chesley Ave. at Fred Jackson Way
2pm-3:30pm | Parchester Community • Williams Dr. at Collins Ave.