The City (and CRA) sponsored Farmer’s Market opened yesterday with very little advance publicity, and the weather was pretty much ideal, with temps in the mid to upper 70s. There were a few early birds picking up produce a few minutes before the market was scheduled to officially open, and while there was a fairly steady stream of shoppers, things didn’t really pick up until 4:30pm or so. Once it hit its stride, though, the market had a good crowd for a first day, with just a couple lulls, until just after 7 or so, when things began to slow down as the market prepared for an 8pm close.
The market, being run under a 5-year contract between the City and Raw Inspiration, featured two Sierra Madre businesses, Leonora Moss and Da Kine Hawaiian Shave Ice. However, Karen Klemens of Mother Moo Creamery, which hopes to open in Kersting Court in late August or early September was there to speak with Market Coordinator Melissa Farwell, Skin Care and Body Works owner Laura Hirsch also picked up an application to have a booth at the Market. I have also spoken with two other Sierra Madre based business owners that have informed me that they intend to become a part of the market.
Raw Inspiration has reserved five spots for Sierra Madre businesses, free of charge, and according to coordinator Farwell, if more than five apply, “Those can be rotated if needed, although with health permits, if they are a food business they will pay for the entire year for their health permit, so they will not be able to rotate in all fairness as easily as the crafters.” Farwell also stated that “if any Sierra Madre business wants to come in they are welcome to pay for the space after the five are taken.”
As I stood at the Chamber’s booth, I talked with several folks who had attended the old Farmers’ Market, and they were unanimous in stating their preference for the new location. The trees on the west side of Hermosa did a good job of creating shade from the sun that had beat down on the old location. Everyone I spoke with was excited about the Market in general, and the new location, and for the most part, I think everyone was pretty positive about the new market. With the possible exception of the dog owners…
At one point, in about a sixty second period, I observed the Market Manager asking three folks to remove their dogs from the market in order to comply with health department regulations. There are signs posted stating that dogs are not allowed, and the rule is being enforced, so you might want to leave Fido at home.
In addition to the dog owners, one resident that lives on Hermosa told me that she and two other property owners on the street had not been informed that the market was coming, and she was not happy. I asked City Manager Elaine Aguilar about it, and she stated that the City had not only notified the property owners by mail, but that a City staffer had stopped at each of the properties in question and left a note with a business card asking them to contact her about the Farmers Market, but there had been no response. However, the City did decide to shorten the length of the market, allowing the street to remain open further north, and opening Mariposa to through traffic, which had not been the case, to try and respond to resident concerns.
The Farmers’ Market will be held each Wednesday year-round, from 3 to 8pm on Hermosa Avenue between Sierra Madre Blvd. and Mariposa, next to Memorial Park.
Click on a photo to enlarge it…