The Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State broke ground Thursday, April 19 on a new building for the Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market.
The new market is possible because of a $1.5 million dollar bequest from the estate of Joyce Mae Gibson. When the gift was announced in 2008, the farm market was renamed to honor her parents, Rue and Gwen Gibson.
“The new market is designed around a farm-to-fork theme,” said Dr. Charles Boyer, dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology. “Customers not only will be able to shop for their favorite Fresno State products, they’ll get to see and experience how the products are produced and processed.”
The new market is expected to open in January, just south of the current market, which is on the southeast corner of Chestnut and Barstow avenues. The existing farm market will remain open during construction.
Retail floor space will nearly double when the new market opens. The current 3,000 square foot facility has 1,200 square feet of floor space. The new 4,800 square foot Farm Market will feature 2,350 in floor space.
New features include a hand-dipped ice cream counter, wine tasting room and expanded floral products. Customers can enjoy their food purchases on-site in the indoor or outdoor dining areas.
Fresno State President John D. Welty participated in the groundbreaking along with Jordan College Dean Charles Boyer and Beverly Knobloch, Joyce Gibson’s sister.
“My sister Joyce loved to shop at the Farm Market,” said Knobloch. “This beautiful new building will be a lasting tribute to my family and an ideal showcase for the work of Fresno State students.”
Benefactor Joyce Mae Gibson began her career in education before becoming a prominent local attorney, practicing with her father Rue Gibson. They were among the first father-daughter legal teams to practice in Fresno. Gwendolyn “Gwen” Gibson is a Fresno State alumna who taught for 20 years in Fresno County.
The Fresno State Farm Market started as an outdoor stand on the corner of Barstow and Chestnut avenues. In 1986, the market moved indoors into a corner of a structure where grapes and stone fruit were packed. In the early 1990s, walls and a ceiling were built to define the market space.
The facility has continued to expand to meet the growing demand. In 2004, a temperature-controlled wine room and more freezer space were added. In 2006, two new freezers and a refrigerator for displaying dairy products were installed, along with air conditioning.
More than $1 million in products are sold through the market annually, including the popular Fresno State sweet corn. All products in the store are grown, produced, packaged or selected by Jordan College students applying classroom learning to hands-on experience, much of it made possible by the generosity of donors such as the Gibson family.
The Gibson gift is part of the $184.5 million given to the Campaign for Fresno State, the university’s first comprehensive fundraising effort, whose goal is $200 million.
For more information, contact Kathleen Schock, the campaign communications director, at 559.278.2756 or firstname.lastname@example.org.