The first community meeting regarding a possible Sunday farmers’ market in Glen Park was held on Monday January 3rd. The meeting, called by Ric Lopez, president of the Glen Park Merchants Association was attended by as many as 30 people. Among the attendees: Scott Wiener – our newly elected District 8 Supervisor who supports the idea, and John Silveira, director of the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association.
After an introduction from Lopez, Silveira began the meeting with a brief history of the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association, presented two short videos, and explained that they have worked with BART before on similar farmers markets. He confirmed that the proposal is on BART’s desk and is being reviewed by the appropriate people.
He went on to say “We’re committed to your community and bringing a farmers market to Glen Park village,” and added that they’re considering 28 to 30 vendor stalls within the proposed parking lot space.
BART main location being considered
It continues to look very promising for the Farmer’s Market to begin in early spring of 2011 and the proposed location remains the Glen Park BART parking lot – slated for Sunday’s from 10 AM to 2 PM.
A spokesman for BART, also present at the meeting, said of the proposal, “This is being batted around at BART, at a high level, which means, obviously we’re at the appropriate level. I would like a farmers market to be considered as a possibility for the space.”
In an article published earlier this week in the San Francisco Examiner, Kamala Kelkar quoted BART director and board member Tom Radulovich as saying that one possible hold up might be that because BART wants to turn that lot into a mixed-use development with housing and retail, insuring that the farmers market there now won’t hinder those plans in the future is important.
“I think that it’s just causing some fear that we may lose control over the property, but I’d like to find a way to host the farmers market,” he told the Examiner.
Destination Bakery at 598 Chenery Street will be one of the vendors at the famers market, Lopez announced.
One farm that’s likely to come is Serendipity Farm, which shoppers at the Castro and Inner Sunset farmers market might know, Silveistra said.
“The perfect time to start a market is probably the middle of May with the arrival of California cherries, because it’s an easier job of marketing because if someone comes out to a farmers market for the first time they get the sugar crops,” Silveira said. Visitors tend to say “Wow! I’ve never tasted a cherry like this before!”
But the market could also start in March. In fact, he said, “we’ve started a market in November, though it’s not ideal.”
The market will be seasonal, spring and summer and possibly a b it into the fall, to see what the demand is. If it builds ” then we could jump right in to a year round market,” Silveira said. “The Castro this year was extended a little longer than we would normally do, we continued another six to eight weeks there.”
The market would run from 10 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon. Ideally the association would like two hours to set up and an hour to tear down before and after, but they’re “extremely flexible, so we could do a 9 o’clock arrival,” Silveira told the crowd.
Sunday is a good day for produce because much of it is picked on Friday and Saturday, Silveira said. And the quality, while always good, will be as high as the community demands. If people buy primarily on price, they’ll have price-driven offerings. If they buy on quality, the farmers will tend to bring higher quality but pricier goods. “If you demand a great crop, you’re going to get a great crop. I don’t think you’ll have any problem of getting substandard produce.”
The market will focus on fruits and vegetables. “We don’t want to have ten prepared food and five farmers. We’re not here to compete with existing businesses, we’re here to complement existing businesses,” Silveira said.
In addition to the Glen Park Merchants Association, neighbors are becoming involved.
Although there are future plans to build an official Glen Park Farmers Market web site, Glen Park neighbor, Mike Schiraldi, has set up a web page to include up-to-date information and details of the proposal as it evolves. He has set up an email list people can join on the web page, which he hopes will help coordinate neighbors and merchants’ efforts of support for the market.
Martin Kirkwood, who had called a community meeting on Jan. 12 in support of the market has called that meeting off, saying things are moving forward through the Glen Park Merchants Association.
Photos by Ellen Rosenthal.
Contributing: Elizabeth Weise