"Shopping Made Fun" Slogan of the Cherry Auction
I've been to the Cherry Auction, Selma Flea Market, Madera Flea Market in recent months and had a few wonderful dining experiences.
I remember as a child hearing about the Sunnyside Swap Meet, something my parents never brought me to. In recent years commuting through Fresno on a Saturday or Sunday, I’d notice the Selma and Madera Ramates just off Highway 99. Sure, I’d see the food trucks, but I was usually in too big of a hurry to stop and grab a taco.
So, after nearly 40 years of never going to a swap meet, I went with my Dad to the Selma Market and wandered around for a couple hours looking at everything from cooking to contractor supplies. Dad actually picked up several packages of high-grit rotary sandpaper at a cost lower than Harbor Freight. From the foodie perspective, The Selma Market had some nice looking portable flat-top grills for a pop-up meal, as well as huge cauldron style deep fryers for carnitas. I remember being at the market in Tlachichuca seeing these type of deep-fry cauldrons being put to work on a daily basis.
In the last couple weeks, I’ve been to the Cherry Auction and the Madera Flea Market. Each of these markets have their own character, their own groove. Madera had a nice layout and entry way which brought patrons through the fruit and veggie section first. The Cherry Auction greets patrons with food. The upside of the Cherry Auction? Animals are for sale.
Looking for a prize fighting cock? Oh wait, that’s illegal. Perhaps an exotic bird? Rabbits to cook…I mean a pet for you children? The Cherry Auction has all of this and more. If I were looking to raise some chickens for eggs or rabbits for meat, this is the place I’d come to buy them. Of course, I’d finish my animals on specific diet before I slaughtered them.
Call it what you like, a Flea Market, Swap Meet, Auction, or Ramate as far as I’m concerned it’s the Central Valley’s version of Off-the-Grid in San Francisco and the original food truck scene for Fresnans.
Off-the-Grid in San Francisco has a variety of cuisine, from simple sandwiches, to Chinese dumplings, to dessert trucks. The Ramate has Mexican food, plain and simple. If a reader would like to quibble with me about the errant pizza guy or the coffee guy that shows up at these things, yes, there are always exceptions like the one-and-only Chinese Food truck that shows up at all the Ramates in the area, but in terms of frequency and volume, Mexican food rules. I’ve already highlighted the Selma Ramate in a previous post.
Cherry Auction, while it’s great for live animals, the food was coming in a distant third when compared to Madera and Selma. There is an upside at Cherry though, the Espresso guy in the converted van.
Be on the lookout for pupusas at the Madera Flea Market from a small trailer with an address marked from Chowchilla. It looks to be a family operation, with every age group represented from the family; 12 year old girl making tortillas from scratch up to Grandpa opening up bottles of cold Mexican Coke. Another truck of note in Madera, the one with Mikas sort of rubbed out, had fabulous al pastor tacos.
I continue to head to the Ramate for food and I’m curious what else I’ll find around the state.