Thursday, February 25, 2010
A farmers market is simple in theory, but the deviled eggs are in the details. Although markets are already established in Monterey, Marina, Salinas and Carmel, small dramas are playing out in the two local cities joining the trend.
Some Pacific Grove merchants are agitating to relocate the city’s year-old market, while in Seaside, one brand-new market has beaten another to lift-off.
On Feb. 22, about 35 vendors sold produce, hot foods and crafts to more than 400 customers in the parking lot behind University Plaza on Fremont Boulevard and Echo Avenue, according to CHAMP/Herr Farms Farmers Market’s Joe Aliotti.
Meanwhile the TGIF Market, organized by the Seaside-Sand City Chamber of Commerce, is planned for Friday afternoons in the City Center lot on the corner of Fremont and Broadway Avenue. That market was originally scheduled to start in January, but after the resignation of former chamber director Tony Price, organizers decided to hold off until spring, according to Chamber President and City Center developer Patrick Orosco.
Aliotti doesn’t see the two venues competing. “A couple of markets are great,” he says. “There are plenty of people in Seaside.”
On the same Monday, shoppers strolled through P.G.’s Everyone’s Harvest market on Lighthouse Avenue between Forest Avenue and 17th Street. But that location is under hot debate.
On Wednesday, March 3, the P.G. City Council will discuss moving it at the request of downtown merchants.
“I think it should stay here, because markets are in the center of town,” said shopper Molly Steele of Monterey.
As if on cue, former P.G. mayor Dan Cort saunters over with a reusable grocery bag. “It took three years to get the farmers market here, and it should never be moved,” he says.
Councilwoman Lisa Bennett, in bike gear with her daughter, offers a different take: “If the merchants don’t want it here, fine—put it in a parking lot. I just want it to exist in an economical and lively place.”
Market organizer Iris Peppard says the event draws 500 to 1,200 customers weekly and has generated from $10,000 to $25,000 per month since last February. But the P.G. Chamber and Downtown Business Improvement District have objected to the existing location. In an August survey, 16 merchants said the market hurts sales, four said it helps and 15 saw no impact.
The council may decide to leave the market on Lighthouse or move it to one of four places: the P.G. Adult School lot, in front of P.G. Middle School, in a lot south of Lighthouse between 16th and 17th streets, or on Lighthouse from 13th to 15th.