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Farm Market Battle Continues

Current, new markets both move forward


The ongoing struggle for control over the 40 year-old Santa Rosa farm market at the Veteran’s Hall continues.

In hopes of reversing the county’s decision to revoke their lease in July, Board Members and vendors from the Original Santa Rosa Certified Farm Market met with Sonoma County Regional Parks Director Caryl Hart, whose office oversees leasing and operation of the hall. In February, she awarded Redwood Empire Farmers’ Markets rental of the hall’s parking lot on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

In a closed meeting, market representatives questioned whether they got a fair shake when county officials decided not to renew their lease, according to board secretary Lesley Brabyn. “We wanted to know if due process was followed,” she said.

Though no official actions resulted after the meeting Brabyn said, “We understand some things better, but it has opened the door to more questions which are being explored by the market.” When asked if legal action on the part of the market was forthcoming Brabyn said,  “We are not ruling anything out.”

In continuing support of their position, and the increasing likelihood that they will have to move elsewhere, the current market board circulated a petition at the Saturday market in support of current market management and polled vendors about their intentions. Brabyn said support was overwhelming.

Meanwhile, the Redwood Empire Farmers’ Markets is moving forward with plans to take over the popular Santa Rosa market this summer.

This week, they announced the appointment of three board members. Spokesman Rob Cary, former Sebastopol Community Center Director, philanthropist and restauranteur Dan Smith and healthcare provider Suzanne Llamado are the first of an anticipated nine members of the new board. “We are in discussions with other potential board members and anticipate three more appointments soon,” said Cary. Three of the members will be elected by vendors, and six of the members will be community members.

Asked about the current controversy, Cary said “We continue to reach out to the Santa Rosa Farmers Market members and the board. We understand that there is a lot of fear right now and hard feelings, but expect that once the dust settles everyone can come together to work for the benefit of the whole community.”

“We’ve been asked a lot about how the markets at the Vets building will change in July,” Cary said. “We are expecting everyone to have the same market experience they are used to, except there will be more vendors and more choices. Our emphasis will be on expanding opportunities, cooperation and mentoring of small farmers throughout the county. We want to raise the bar so that a much higher percentage of produce, fruit, meat, eggs, and farm products are grown locally. The solution is simple: More market space for farmers and better promotion of the market to the public. Some friendly competition is the basis of every successful market.”

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58 thoughts on “Farm Market Battle Continues

  1. What doesn’t seem to be understood is that the Santa Rosa Original Farmer’s Market is a group of local vendors that have developed this market at the Veteran’s parking lot over the past 40 years. It’s one of the last farmer owned markets in California and has earned the reputation of being one of the best. The manager works for them. They just lost their lease (or license to be correct) to a company who operates all over the state. Many of the original vendors are not invited. So when Redwood group says the market will not be interrupted… well, sort of. If you let all the farmers from around the state in, the prices will probably come down. It might be cheaper for the consumers but our small local farmers may not be able to survive.

  2. What doesn’t seem to be understood is that the Santa Rosa Original Farmer’s Market is a group of local vendors that have developed this market at the Veteran’s parking lot over the past 40 years. It’s one of the last farmer owned markets in California and has earned the reputation of being one of the best. The manager works for them. They just lost their lease (or license to be correct) to a company who operates all over the state. Many of the original vendors are not invited. So when Redwood group says the market will not be interrupted… well, sort of. If you let all the farmers from around the state in, the prices will probably come down. It might be cheaper for the consumers but our small local farmers may not be able to survive.

  3. Just the facts: I attended that meeting as a vendor and interested member of the community. It was supposed to be a meeting with the county people and the SR Original market folks. Both sides had legal representation there. The presence of Dan Smith from the Redwood group with another attorney was unexpected. The county people and the Redwood people were uncomfortable with the court reporter so she left before the meeting began.

  4. Just the facts: I attended that meeting as a vendor and interested member of the community. It was supposed to be a meeting with the county people and the SR Original market folks. Both sides had legal representation there. The presence of Dan Smith from the Redwood group with another attorney was unexpected. The county people and the Redwood people were uncomfortable with the court reporter so she left before the meeting began.

    1. The statements made in this “opinion piece” are not all factual. As Alex stated, the minutes to the Board meetings tell the real story. One woman’s opinions do not.

    2. HEY, KYLE! Why don’t you ask Renee why her own husband resigned from being president of the board? Get a copy of his resignation letter and maybe you’ll learn what’s “REALLY GOING ON!”

    3. Kyle,

      I don’t think one persons point of view can ever tell the whole story. Renee Kiff is defending her friend Paula. I find that admirable, if not objective.

    1. The statements made in this “opinion piece” are not all factual. As Alex stated, the minutes to the Board meetings tell the real story. One woman’s opinions do not.

    2. HEY, KYLE! Why don’t you ask Renee why her own husband resigned from being president of the board? Get a copy of his resignation letter and maybe you’ll learn what’s “REALLY GOING ON!”

    3. Kyle,

      I don’t think one persons point of view can ever tell the whole story. Renee Kiff is defending her friend Paula. I find that admirable, if not objective.

  5. There certainly seems to be a lot of unsubstantiated facts and uneducated opinions out there. It might be a good idea if the court file in the pending litigation against the market was reviewed. It is a public document and anyone can look at it. I think that it would support the commentors who state that the current market manager runs the market as a dictatorship. When you read the court file, you will see that she kicks local Sonoma county farmers who don’t kowtow to her or those who question her authority and decisions out of the market and replaces them with her favorites, including out of county farmers. Why should a vendor from San Jose have a place at the market? Did you know that the market manager also gives preference to younger farmers? You current members out there, please also exercise your right to review the minutes of the board of directors meetings for the last two years. Your eyes will be opened as to why the old board did not renew the market manager’s contract in 2010, why the old board resigned, how the market manager came back on board, how much she is paid, whether her claim that stall fees will have to be raised to pay the rent for the Veteran’s parking lot is valid, and the complete dysfunction of the board of directors. You should also review all the PD articles going back over the last 12 months about the market manager’s dealings with the rent. Redwood Empire Farmers Market should be applauded for stepping in and forming a market that will treat all Sonoma County farmers the same, will develop and enforce fair and impartial rules, both for admittance to sell, and continued participation. As for those individuals who claim that Heather Irwin is biased, her reporting is the most factually based out there, as is Paul Payne’s. Again, read the minutes and the court file to educate yourselves as to the true facts.

  6. I don’t know why this is being done is such a sneaky, back-door kind of way. If the County wanted to change contractors, they should have openly requested bids from all interested parties. This is how such things are done. They get proposals, review them and pick the best contractor. This smacks of cronyism, entering into a sweetheart contract with an entity that is just being created to sign this contract. This new group’s proposal does not even make sense. How can they pay the County substantially more and still charge the vendors the same? This is a sham and should be called out by everyone who cares about the future of the market.

    1. No, this is not how things are done in renting space at the Veterns Hall. There has been NO back dooring. If you want to rent ANY part of the Vets buildig you call Parks and Recs, they tell you if it is available and if it is, you can rent it. If you want to hold a wedding reception, it’s not put out to Open bid. The space is either available or it’s not.
      As to the other comments regarding the current market manager, she has done a fantastic job of promoting the market. I am baffled that everyone is centering around her. She announced her retirement at the end of January. And if she has changed her mind, she was invited to apply for the position.

  7. There certainly seems to be a lot of unsubstantiated facts and uneducated opinions out there. It might be a good idea if the court file in the pending litigation against the market was reviewed. It is a public document and anyone can look at it. I think that it would support the commentors who state that the current market manager runs the market as a dictatorship. When you read the court file, you will see that she kicks local Sonoma county farmers who don’t kowtow to her or those who question her authority and decisions out of the market and replaces them with her favorites, including out of county farmers. Why should a vendor from San Jose have a place at the market? Did you know that the market manager also gives preference to younger farmers? You current members out there, please also exercise your right to review the minutes of the board of directors meetings for the last two years. Your eyes will be opened as to why the old board did not renew the market manager’s contract in 2010, why the old board resigned, how the market manager came back on board, how much she is paid, whether her claim that stall fees will have to be raised to pay the rent for the Veteran’s parking lot is valid, and the complete dysfunction of the board of directors. You should also review all the PD articles going back over the last 12 months about the market manager’s dealings with the rent. Redwood Empire Farmers Market should be applauded for stepping in and forming a market that will treat all Sonoma County farmers the same, will develop and enforce fair and impartial rules, both for admittance to sell, and continued participation. As for those individuals who claim that Heather Irwin is biased, her reporting is the most factually based out there, as is Paul Payne’s. Again, read the minutes and the court file to educate yourselves as to the true facts.

  8. anon March 12, 2012 at 7:38 pm #
    “why isn’t there any reporting on how caryl hart invited the market to the meeting but didn’t tell them Dan Smith would be there and then walked out when the market said they wanted to record the meeting

    And the lies and misinformation continues…

    Actually EVERYONE left the room, while the SRFM group decided what to do with their hired court reporter. It was a meeting, not a legal proceeding.”

    Nasty…nasty…nasty. Does the Press Democrat ever send a real REPORTER to COVER these meetings, or just rely on second-hand gossip, columnists, and fertilizer-slingers to try and figure out after the fact what’s going on? LOL

      1. Judging by your attitude, you must be the Suzanne that will be on the board of our new Farmers’ Market. It would be nice if your comments were a little more responsible, instead of joining in the mud slinging. How about explaining what is going on without all the name-calling and hyperbably? Where did your group come from and what Farmers’ Markets do they operate now? What is their track record? What specifically are they going to do for all users of the market? I realize that you represent vendors who are mad that Paula didn’t let them do what they wanted to, but is that all you have to offer?

        1. Hmmm I do believe there is more than one Suzanne in the world…
          this one is not on the new Farmers’ Market Board…

          And if you really want to talk about being more responsible about your public comments, …maybe that statement should be pointed to the Board of The Santa Rosa Original Farmers Market.

        2. No, I’m not the Suzanne who is on the Board of the new REFM. I represent no one but myself. I’m a former vendor at the SRFM. And in no way did I “mud-sling” or call anyone names. I called someone OUT for THEIR name-calling. (I’m not too sure what “hyperbably” is involved here…)

  9. I don’t know why this is being done is such a sneaky, back-door kind of way. If the County wanted to change contractors, they should have openly requested bids from all interested parties. This is how such things are done. They get proposals, review them and pick the best contractor. This smacks of cronyism, entering into a sweetheart contract with an entity that is just being created to sign this contract. This new group’s proposal does not even make sense. How can they pay the County substantially more and still charge the vendors the same? This is a sham and should be called out by everyone who cares about the future of the market.

    1. No, this is not how things are done in renting space at the Veterns Hall. There has been NO back dooring. If you want to rent ANY part of the Vets buildig you call Parks and Recs, they tell you if it is available and if it is, you can rent it. If you want to hold a wedding reception, it’s not put out to Open bid. The space is either available or it’s not.
      As to the other comments regarding the current market manager, she has done a fantastic job of promoting the market. I am baffled that everyone is centering around her. She announced her retirement at the end of January. And if she has changed her mind, she was invited to apply for the position.

  10. anon March 12, 2012 at 7:38 pm #
    “why isn’t there any reporting on how caryl hart invited the market to the meeting but didn’t tell them Dan Smith would be there and then walked out when the market said they wanted to record the meeting

    And the lies and misinformation continues…

    Actually EVERYONE left the room, while the SRFM group decided what to do with their hired court reporter. It was a meeting, not a legal proceeding.”

    Nasty…nasty…nasty. Does the Press Democrat ever send a real REPORTER to COVER these meetings, or just rely on second-hand gossip, columnists, and fertilizer-slingers to try and figure out after the fact what’s going on? LOL

      1. Judging by your attitude, you must be the Suzanne that will be on the board of our new Farmers’ Market. It would be nice if your comments were a little more responsible, instead of joining in the mud slinging. How about explaining what is going on without all the name-calling and hyperbably? Where did your group come from and what Farmers’ Markets do they operate now? What is their track record? What specifically are they going to do for all users of the market? I realize that you represent vendors who are mad that Paula didn’t let them do what they wanted to, but is that all you have to offer?

        1. Hmmm I do believe there is more than one Suzanne in the world…
          this one is not on the new Farmers’ Market Board…

          And if you really want to talk about being more responsible about your public comments, …maybe that statement should be pointed to the Board of The Santa Rosa Original Farmers Market.

        2. No, I’m not the Suzanne who is on the Board of the new REFM. I represent no one but myself. I’m a former vendor at the SRFM. And in no way did I “mud-sling” or call anyone names. I called someone OUT for THEIR name-calling. (I’m not too sure what “hyperbably” is involved here…)

  11. About ten years ago our family started going to the Original Santa Rosa Certified Farm Market we couldn’t believe all wonderful farmers and friends that would bring their goods to the market not only to make money but to educate us on eating locally grown wonderfully fresh foods. As the weeks went by we met more vendors and couldn’t hear enough about how the market manager Paula Downing was responsible for creating and managing the market and most thought it just wouldn’t be such a success if it was not run by someone who cared so much about getting Sonoma County folks together where they could buy local, support your farmers and eat the best foods available in the county. As the years have gone by the market has evolved and grown and our family has noticed that when new vendors show up to sell their goods the number one worry they have is that they hope to be able to keep selling week after week at the market. Some actually saying they sure hope Paula lets them come back. Our family always has thought that it was a good marketing strategy to give a vendor a chance to sell and see how it works out with the other vendors and allow them to come back when there was room or on a special holiday market. We all know a Farmers Market needs to be managed and controlled. Even at a kids softball game it requires vendor booths to be managed so you get a variety of food.
    As far as complaints from the vendors yes we have heard from a few and it’s always the same complaint that Paula is not open to new ideas? Or Paula limits the amount of vendors that can sell? This is called managing the market and making it the best Farmers Market it can be. We can all see when we go to the market how crowded it is and how happy we Sonoma County residents are to be able to find fresh local food and shop in such an exciting inviting atmosphere. Where else can you go in Sonoma County for free and talk with farmers about growing their fresh foods and buy them. No where! So Sonoma County residents lets continue to support what is working and has been for many years The Original Certified Farmers Market and look for Paula Downing when your there, talk with her and you will find out how much of her life goes into running this Farmers Market. She cares about the farmers and us residents who shop there. So instead of supporting a group with NO PLAN on how to make the Farmers Market better other than big money to pay the increased rent. Caryl Hart is blinded by the money she will get from Redwood Empire Farmers Market and refuses to negotiate with a fabulous planned well managed thriving Farmers Market. Looks like someone is out to get Paula Downing! That’s a private personal matter. The Certified Farmers Market has grown and is better today under the present manager. Since when did we all support paying more money for our fresh food?
    Think about it, it makes good sense. Why change something thats working so well?

    1. Wow, Kyle. It sure appears you didn’t actually READ the above article – nor any of the previous articles written about the management of this current market. Your “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” remarks are way off base because it IS broke, and has been for years now. Paula Downing has played favorites with vendors and deprived some of their very livelihood because they dared to question her or disagree with her. That’s not “management”, that’s dictatorship.

      Paula Downing was the sole “negotiator” with the County regarding the possibility of signing a new lease for the space (the lease ends this June, so the SRFM had no lease after June 30, 2012). Paula stated numerous times to the County that the current market was not willing to pay a fee “increase” – not really a “rent hike”, just a discontinuation of the tax-payer subsidized fee waiver. The market officials never produced AUDITED financial documents to the County to support their contention that the subsidy was needed to continue the market in that space. Their lack of transparency and co-operation were apparent from the beginning of the license discussions last year.

      The new market group DOES have a great plan in place, and will make sure both customers and vendors are happy and treated fairly.

  12. About ten years ago our family started going to the Original Santa Rosa Certified Farm Market we couldn’t believe all wonderful farmers and friends that would bring their goods to the market not only to make money but to educate us on eating locally grown wonderfully fresh foods. As the weeks went by we met more vendors and couldn’t hear enough about how the market manager Paula Downing was responsible for creating and managing the market and most thought it just wouldn’t be such a success if it was not run by someone who cared so much about getting Sonoma County folks together where they could buy local, support your farmers and eat the best foods available in the county. As the years have gone by the market has evolved and grown and our family has noticed that when new vendors show up to sell their goods the number one worry they have is that they hope to be able to keep selling week after week at the market. Some actually saying they sure hope Paula lets them come back. Our family always has thought that it was a good marketing strategy to give a vendor a chance to sell and see how it works out with the other vendors and allow them to come back when there was room or on a special holiday market. We all know a Farmers Market needs to be managed and controlled. Even at a kids softball game it requires vendor booths to be managed so you get a variety of food.
    As far as complaints from the vendors yes we have heard from a few and it’s always the same complaint that Paula is not open to new ideas? Or Paula limits the amount of vendors that can sell? This is called managing the market and making it the best Farmers Market it can be. We can all see when we go to the market how crowded it is and how happy we Sonoma County residents are to be able to find fresh local food and shop in such an exciting inviting atmosphere. Where else can you go in Sonoma County for free and talk with farmers about growing their fresh foods and buy them. No where! So Sonoma County residents lets continue to support what is working and has been for many years The Original Certified Farmers Market and look for Paula Downing when your there, talk with her and you will find out how much of her life goes into running this Farmers Market. She cares about the farmers and us residents who shop there. So instead of supporting a group with NO PLAN on how to make the Farmers Market better other than big money to pay the increased rent. Caryl Hart is blinded by the money she will get from Redwood Empire Farmers Market and refuses to negotiate with a fabulous planned well managed thriving Farmers Market. Looks like someone is out to get Paula Downing! That’s a private personal matter. The Certified Farmers Market has grown and is better today under the present manager. Since when did we all support paying more money for our fresh food?
    Think about it, it makes good sense. Why change something thats working so well?

    1. Wow, Kyle. It sure appears you didn’t actually READ the above article – nor any of the previous articles written about the management of this current market. Your “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” remarks are way off base because it IS broke, and has been for years now. Paula Downing has played favorites with vendors and deprived some of their very livelihood because they dared to question her or disagree with her. That’s not “management”, that’s dictatorship.

      Paula Downing was the sole “negotiator” with the County regarding the possibility of signing a new lease for the space (the lease ends this June, so the SRFM had no lease after June 30, 2012). Paula stated numerous times to the County that the current market was not willing to pay a fee “increase” – not really a “rent hike”, just a discontinuation of the tax-payer subsidized fee waiver. The market officials never produced AUDITED financial documents to the County to support their contention that the subsidy was needed to continue the market in that space. Their lack of transparency and co-operation were apparent from the beginning of the license discussions last year.

      The new market group DOES have a great plan in place, and will make sure both customers and vendors are happy and treated fairly.

  13. The real face of the market is showing, as it did in Sonoma over time. The new Sonoma Valley Certified Farmers Market held on Tuesday nights, has fine managmen, a present board, the rules and regulations are posted on line, the board meetings are held open to the public, a real process to apply is available, an appeal process, variety of vendors and it is a welcome change!
    It is a pleasure to go shop at the Tuesday market and my staff love working the market on Tuesday’s too.
    Thanks,
    Sheana

  14. I’ve got to back the County of Sonoma on this one.

    From information reported in the PD, the current market had been paying less than the going rate for their use of public property.

    California law makes it illegal for any governmental body to “gift” public funds. By allowing the current market to pay below cost, the County was breaking this concept. Also, it is my understanding that current market management had been in negotiations for some time and had asked for additional reductions in rent.

    It really seems like they were bluffing the county and someone got smart and proposed a deal the county felt was fair and in line with the going rates for the use of this property.

    Now, if this is not the case, then I might reconsider but I’ve not heard anything to the contrary.

  15. The real face of the market is showing, as it did in Sonoma over time. The new Sonoma Valley Certified Farmers Market held on Tuesday nights, has fine managmen, a present board, the rules and regulations are posted on line, the board meetings are held open to the public, a real process to apply is available, an appeal process, variety of vendors and it is a welcome change!
    It is a pleasure to go shop at the Tuesday market and my staff love working the market on Tuesday’s too.
    Thanks,
    Sheana

  16. I’ve got to back the County of Sonoma on this one.

    From information reported in the PD, the current market had been paying less than the going rate for their use of public property.

    California law makes it illegal for any governmental body to “gift” public funds. By allowing the current market to pay below cost, the County was breaking this concept. Also, it is my understanding that current market management had been in negotiations for some time and had asked for additional reductions in rent.

    It really seems like they were bluffing the county and someone got smart and proposed a deal the county felt was fair and in line with the going rates for the use of this property.

    Now, if this is not the case, then I might reconsider but I’ve not heard anything to the contrary.

  17. Seems to me that the whole thing is full of mis-information (on the current market’s side). Perhaps a more diverse board of directors’ will allow for broader thinking. The busy small farmers will have the opportuinty to focus on what they do, with representation on the board, and the community will have a major voice. Remember this, with out the commuinty support the farmers market does not work. I think for the future this will also assit with more sound decisions when it comes to securing something as simple as the location. Currently, it still seems more of a dictatorship than a commuinty event. ITS TIME FOR CHANGE. Lets let it happen.

    1. I think there are a lot of very passionate, very emotionally-invested folks on both sides. Unfortunately there is a significant gap between what is actually happening and what some well-meaning folks perceive to be happening. There is also a gap between what is “news” and what is hearsay, gossip, rumor, conjecture and information that is not newsworthy for a general audience.

      It’s sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees when you’re in the thick of it…

  18. Seems to me that the whole thing is full of mis-information (on the current market’s side). Perhaps a more diverse board of directors’ will allow for broader thinking. The busy small farmers will have the opportuinty to focus on what they do, with representation on the board, and the community will have a major voice. Remember this, with out the commuinty support the farmers market does not work. I think for the future this will also assit with more sound decisions when it comes to securing something as simple as the location. Currently, it still seems more of a dictatorship than a commuinty event. ITS TIME FOR CHANGE. Lets let it happen.

    1. I think there are a lot of very passionate, very emotionally-invested folks on both sides. Unfortunately there is a significant gap between what is actually happening and what some well-meaning folks perceive to be happening. There is also a gap between what is “news” and what is hearsay, gossip, rumor, conjecture and information that is not newsworthy for a general audience.

      It’s sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees when you’re in the thick of it…

  19. I’m not a farmer (or a non-farming vendor), but as a community member (and former Officer and Board member of a nonprofit in another county and unrelated to the market) I’m really uncomfortable hearing about the plan to have only 3 of the the 9 REFM Board members be elected by vendors. A Farmers Market should be run BY farmers (with the other non-farming vendors who complement their offerings). As a long-time regular customer I’m also not comfortable with the WAY this whole thing was done–it leaves a really bad taste in my mouth–not a good way to start when talking about food. If the market really does end up dividing into separate locations/organizations, I may occasionally need to go to the new market to get some things I want, but I won’t be feeling very good about it if I do.

    1. Well the Market-Manager-Run-40-year-old-market isn’t working either…Don’t be fooled, it ISN’T the board running the market, it IS the market manager. Why not give this new group and it’s board a fair chance?

      If you were a vendor in ANY market, and you had a customer who purchased your produce or products at the price you set, you’d sell it to them happily. However, if you had a customer who always wanted and expected a discount for the fruits of your sweat and hard labor, you’d quickly grow tired of their “patronage.”

      This is exactly what the County has done. They had a customer come in who is willing and able to pay the full rent, without jacking up the stall fees to the vendors. It just makes good business sense.

  20. why isn’t there any reporting on how caryl hart invited the market to the meeting but didn’t tell them Dan Smith would be there and then walked out when the market said they wanted to record the meeting

    1. And the lies and misinformation continues…

      Actually EVERYONE left the room, while the SRFM group decided what to do with their hired court reporter. It was a meeting, not a legal proceeding.

  21. I’m not a farmer (or a non-farming vendor), but as a community member (and former Officer and Board member of a nonprofit in another county and unrelated to the market) I’m really uncomfortable hearing about the plan to have only 3 of the the 9 REFM Board members be elected by vendors. A Farmers Market should be run BY farmers (with the other non-farming vendors who complement their offerings). As a long-time regular customer I’m also not comfortable with the WAY this whole thing was done–it leaves a really bad taste in my mouth–not a good way to start when talking about food. If the market really does end up dividing into separate locations/organizations, I may occasionally need to go to the new market to get some things I want, but I won’t be feeling very good about it if I do.

  22. I’m not a farmer (or a non-farming vendor), but as a community member (and former Officer and Board member of a nonprofit in another county and unrelated to the market) I’m really uncomfortable hearing about the plan to have only 3 of the the 9 REFM Board members be elected by vendors. A Farmers Market should be run BY farmers (with the other non-farming vendors who complement their offerings). As a long-time regular customer I’m also not comfortable with the WAY this whole thing was done–it leaves a really bad taste in my mouth–not a good way to start when talking about food. If the market really does end up dividing into separate locations/organizations, I may occasionally need to go to the new market to get some things I want, but I won’t be feeling very good about it if I do.

    1. Well the Market-Manager-Run-40-year-old-market isn’t working either…Don’t be fooled, it ISN’T the board running the market, it IS the market manager. Why not give this new group and it’s board a fair chance?

      If you were a vendor in ANY market, and you had a customer who purchased your produce or products at the price you set, you’d sell it to them happily. However, if you had a customer who always wanted and expected a discount for the fruits of your sweat and hard labor, you’d quickly grow tired of their “patronage.”

      This is exactly what the County has done. They had a customer come in who is willing and able to pay the full rent, without jacking up the stall fees to the vendors. It just makes good business sense.

  23. why isn’t there any reporting on how caryl hart invited the market to the meeting but didn’t tell them Dan Smith would be there and then walked out when the market said they wanted to record the meeting

  24. why isn’t there any reporting on how caryl hart invited the market to the meeting but didn’t tell them Dan Smith would be there and then walked out when the market said they wanted to record the meeting

    1. And the lies and misinformation continues…

      Actually EVERYONE left the room, while the SRFM group decided what to do with their hired court reporter. It was a meeting, not a legal proceeding.

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