The Story Behind The Guys Selling Fruit On the Street Corners

Campbell, like many other cities nearby, is home to many fruit vendors. Here's the story of one of them.

You see them around town as soon as the weather turns nice. Fruit vendors on street corners -- strawberries first, then oranges, melons and a wide variety of other natural delicacies.  

In Campbell, on the corner of McGlincy Lane and Curtner Avenue and Curtner Avenue and Shamrock Drive, you often see a pair of vendors sitting in the sun with their fruit, hoping to sell the items straight from farms in Watsonville and Gilroy before they go bad.

Alejandro is one of these vendors. He wants to only go by his first name.

He's been on the job for a six-day week now, taking turns with his co-workers to sell at different locations in the area.

On April 28th, he was selling fresh strawberries from Watsonville and oranges from Gilroy.

It beats unemployment or sitting at home, he says.

Campbell Patch spoke with him about the economy, being a fruit vendor and what the alternatives are. Watch the video to hear more.

Eric Gneckow April 29, 2011 at 02:38 PM
This is a great idea!
Mayra Flores de Marcotte April 29, 2011 at 03:31 PM
Thanks Eric! I was leaving a photo shoot and saw this guy on the corner. The idea quickly fell in my lap and luckily I speak Spanish so after the intros I found a fascinating story that needed to be shared. Really great guy.
Danielle Cohen April 29, 2011 at 03:54 PM
I often purchase from the people on our corner but always wondered if it was "legit" and if I was helping the seller at all, or just some other boss. Glad to know the sellers are benefiting at least a bit.
Mayra Flores de Marcotte April 29, 2011 at 04:35 PM
Hi Danielle, Thank you for your comment and for taking the time to read/watch this piece. I agree. I have too so when the opportunity presented itself, I thought, "Let's find out!" He said that they all work pretty well together and that they help each other out, so it was nice to hear that as well as what you pointed out: they are benefiting from it. Keep reading!
Sarah Erbil April 29, 2011 at 06:05 PM
I grew up in Hollister, CA, and agriculture is still a way of life and the way many people make their living. I grew up eating produce from local farms, often sold by men and women on street corners and roadside stands. I thought his way of speaking about his honest yet meager living was quite beautiful.
Mayra Flores de Marcotte April 29, 2011 at 06:24 PM
Sarah, Thank you for commenting and taking the time to read and watch this story unfold. I agree. He really was articulate about his work and thankful, which was truly humbling. Even though everything seems very high-tech in this valley, it wasn't long ago that we were surrounded by agriculture so I find it comforting to see it, even if it's just speckled throughout the valley in the form of these vendors. Thanks again for commenting and keep reading!
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) April 29, 2011 at 06:44 PM
Brilliant! Very moving. Que vivan los trabajadores de las calles de Campbell.
Mayra Flores de Marcotte April 29, 2011 at 07:03 PM
Thank you Sheila. It was a pleasure to do. He was great to talk to.
Jaime Batiz April 30, 2011 at 12:57 AM
Good job, Mayra! This short video and article speaks volumes about the low-tech reality and hardship that many people endure in our high-tech communities, or around them.
Mayra Flores de Marcotte April 30, 2011 at 02:23 PM
Jaime, Thank you so much for commenting and reading/watching this story. I completely agree. It really does bring things to perspective. Thank you again for participating. Keep on reading Campbell Patch!
Cody Kraatz May 02, 2011 at 05:08 PM
This was a great idea Mayra. I ride past a corner near my house where there is always a fruit seller—different people it seems from week to week. They're there first thing in the morning, 7 am even, until 7 in the evening. I don't see there being much of a bathroom break opportunity, and I've read that sometimes they're robbed for their cash. I talked to a guy on my nearby corner once and he said the produce is from California (obviously not the mangoes though) and sometimes the sellers buy from farms they work at to sell it for a slim profit, but I think more often they work for someone else who drops them off and pays them very little because, like the man you talked to, they'll take anything that's better than being unemployed or stealing.
Rachel Stern May 02, 2011 at 06:04 PM
I agree with these comments. I've seen these vendors on street corners all around California, but don't hear their stories told often. They usually work too long hours, with too little pay, so it's nice they get some recognition here.
Mayra Flores de Marcotte May 02, 2011 at 07:01 PM
Thank you for commenting, Cody. It's interesting how many of these men (not sure if I've ever seen a woman doing this) have such varying, yet similar stories. I will keep my eye open for more of them and maybe interview others along the way. Share all of their stories too.
Mayra Flores de Marcotte May 02, 2011 at 07:03 PM
Thank you for your comment, Rachel! You're right. I see these guys almost every day; on my way to drop off my son to preschool, on my way to work, in and around town and on my way back home. I found it comforting, really, to hear at least one of their stories and am glad he was willing to share it with me.
laura Moore May 16, 2011 at 02:16 PM
It is an incredible gift. How lucky we are to have so much fresh and local. Thank you for reminding to support what I most appreciate..
Mayra Flores de Marcotte May 16, 2011 at 02:53 PM
Thank you for commenting and joining in on the conversation, Laura! Indeed, we are very lucky to have such great produce and foods available to us so close to home. Keep on reading!
Julia July 12, 2011 at 11:20 PM
I think this is a complicated issue. When I see these fruit stands, I worry about the pesticides and/or preservatives that may be applied to these foods, which are not regulated. I worry about the fact that the food is sitting out in the hot sun all day. I worry about the fact that their employers can avoid fair wage laws and take advantage of people who are desperate for work. However, I do not blame the vendors themselves, and I appreciate the difficult situation that they are in. I don't have a magic solution for them, and I can't offer them better jobs or opportunities. I don't support the stands by buying fruit, but I do like to offer the vendors in my neighborhood bottles of cold water on hot days. It's a small kindness that I hope others will consider.


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