Sunday morning 8:45 a.m.at Paul Ecke Elementary School in Encinitas. School is out yet the parking lot is beginning to hum with activity. Two lines of vehicles form at the back gate. A few people leave their vehicles to chat outside in the morning air. With increasing frequency, more cargo vans, box trucks, family vans, sedans and pickup trucks arrive, then get in line.
It's a weekly ritual for vendors at the Leucadia-Encinitas Farmers Market, a local institution that had its start just five years ago. Some, like Kristen, "The Lotion Lady", have been here since day one.
"I've been in the business 16 years", says Kristen. "And I've been at this market since it opened in 2005."
Kristen is one of a number of artisan merchandisers that compliment the stalls of beats, radishes, zuchini, and other produce typically sold at farmers markets.
She has one thing in common with the produce sellers - her lotions, body oils, and aromatherapy products are all home grown.
"I make everything myself, from scratch", she says. "My aunt had like a farmhouse recipe and I just built on that. I researched and taught myself".
She does not advertise her products as medicinal or anti-aging, but they will certainly put the user in a better mood. Her Lemon Verbena Handmade Soap has a scent "full of happiness", reminiscent of a trip through the Central coast of California.
On a typical week she will attend three different farmer's markets in the North County. She's been featured on television, and her products can be found as far away as Washington D.C. at a Smithsonian Museum gift shop.
Most of her sales are online at her Lotion Lady website which contains indepth product information and includes detailed instructions on how to make your own handsoap.
The Leucadia-Encinitas Farmers Market is open each Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Paul Ecke Elementary, Union & N. Vulcan Streets in Encinitas. Ron Chance is the organizer and can be reached at (858) 272-7054
Kristen, The Lotion Lady
Her event schedule for the next few weeks:
Thursday, May 27, from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Pier View Way & Tremont Street
Saturday, May 29, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
San Clemente Community Center
100 N. Calle Seville
San Clemente, California
Thursday, June 3, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Oceanside Farmers' Market
Pier View Way & Coast Highway