Meet Alex Frecker, the newest face at the farmers market

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Farmer Alex Frecker worked the market stand during high school and college before being lured to get his hands in the soil. Photo by Gillian Ferguson/KCRW

As the farming community ages, there's a new, fresh face at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Alex Frecker of Frecker Farms in Carpinteria recently began setting up shop on Arizona Avenue.

He tells market correspondent Gillian Ferguson that he met John Givens, who has been farming since the 1970s in Santa Barbara County when he was 12 years old. Givens is not only an example of how to farm organically along the Southern California coast but also how to go direct to market and work with chefs. Frecker started helping the Givens family at their stand at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market as a teenager. He calls the crisp fifty-dollar bill he was handed on his first day of work a turning point in his life.  

During summers, he helped at the farm building greenhouses. While he attended the University of California, Irvine, Frecker worked the Sunday farmers market in Pacific Palisades with Givens's wife. His studies in business economics and management, coupled with Givens's work ethic and lifestyle, convinced Frecker that a life in farming was his calling. 

Frecker grows approximately 45 items year-round, with strawberries and tomatoes anchoring the crop. Look for his variety of lettuces at 15 or so different markets across Southern California.