Trojan Farmers Market is a staple to the USC experience

For many vendors, the weekly market on McCarthy Quad is their favorite of the week.

[A photo of a produce vendor at the USC Trojan Farmers Market.]

Esteban Aldana loves coming to USC every Wednesday. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., he has sold Mexican food from Gourmet Tamales at the Trojan Farmers Market for the past eight years.

“We love coming here. This one is probably my favorite market,” Aldana said. ”Everyone’s very friendly. People come out, you get beautiful days here at USC and we’re very, very blessed and fortunate to be here to talk to a lot of cool people and thankful to USC for providing this opportunity for us.”

Every Wednesday, McCarthy Quad hosts dozens of Los Angeles vendors serving food and products from a myriad of cultures.

Plutarco Garcia, who works at the JM Produce C&L Farms fresh fruit stand — best known for its strawberries and mixed berries — has been vending at the farmers market for about three years now and said he is thankful for USC students.

“Thank God,” Garcia said. “The sales here have been productive, especially because of the students who buy lots of our strawberries. They love them, and we sell pretty well.”

To the students of USC, Garcia had a simple message: “[I want to] thank all of the students who every [week] come to buy our products. Just thank you.”

With the vibrant colors of the fresh fruit stands and the sizzling sounds of the pupusas cooking, the Trojan Farmers Market attracts students from all over campus to enjoy a variety of food offered by different vendors.

“[My favorite] is actually the tamales and the fresh squeezed juice down there is so good,” said Jayna Dias, a junior majoring in art. “It is a little pricey, but it’s really refreshing.”

Many students even like coming to the market to get their fruits and vegetables because they prefer them to grocery stores.

“My roommate is super into fresh fruits,” Dias said. “She always buys stuff from here and it’s really bright. I heard it’s really good.”

Johanna RoiRoi, a worker from Boule de Pain-Pastries by Edie, joined the farmers market two years ago during the pandemic. Like many around the world, RoiRoi said the pandemic caused pain and uncertainty for the market’s vendors.

“[The pandemic] really impacted our business,” RoiRoi said. “Everybody was going inside and not going outside. It really affected our business, but things are getting better now.”

Like Aldana and Garcia, RoiRoi said she appreciates the support from USC faculty and students.

“I really love it. I have met so many people, all my customer[s], they’re really, really nice,” RoiRoi said. “They’re really loyal all the time. They come every Wednesday to see me and buy the same things. And sometimes they try new things.”

“I really like the environment,” RoiRoi added. “There’s a lot of space and there’s so many good vendors here.”