There has been a lot of buzz recently about a new farmers market coming to Coronado. The idea has really gotten the community talking and eCoronado wanted to share more information about the proposed market and also the current Coronado Farmers Market.
The current Farmers Market is located at the Coronado Ferry Landing and has been continuously running in our community for 25 years. In its early years the market had a few different locations, but for the last 22 years it has called the Ferry Landing home. Many residents will remember visiting the market encircling the large fountains in the center of the Ferry Landing complex. More recently, the market can be found in the parking lot next to Il Fornaio restaurant. Open every Tuesday from 2:30 to 6 pm, it is one of 63 Certified Farmers Markets in San Diego County.
Last Tuesday, I visited the Coronado Farmers Market and spoke with manager Mary Hillebrecht, who is on site every week. Along with managing the market, she is also a vendor and farmer herself. The market currently has 14 vendors selling a variety of local produce, cheese, nuts, fresh flowers and plants. Depending on the season, the number of growers and the variety of goods available for purchase changes.
The market is a “Certified Farmers Market”, which means that all the farmers and ranchers who sell at the market have been certified by the County Agricultural Commissioner. This ensures that everything being offered is locally grown in California and meets all the California quality standards. “This is a quality assured, provenience assured market. We have only California grown products sold by the producer. Every week there is something that is at the peak of its season and is remarkable,” explains Hillebrecht.
The idea for a new farmers market began six months ago when a group of Coronado residents started dreaming of a full-service farmers market in a central location. They believe that a market held on a weekend in the downtown area would benefit the community and local businesses and be a fun, weekly event for all of Coronado.
I spoke with longtime local residents Carroll and Lisa Gerbel who are part of the grassroots effort to bring a vibrant new farmers market to the Island. The father and daughter team are spearheading the effort and in preparation, have met with a professional market manager. Once created, the market would continue to be professionally managed. Though no definite location has been chosen, the team hopes that the market will be centrally located in the business area so that the community can easily access the event by foot or bike. The downtown location would also “benefit businesses in town,” explains Lisa. The draw of the market would bring more people than usual to the business district and local restaurants and stores would reap the rewards.
The new market will have a wide variety of foods and services and although it is too early to post information about specific vendors, they hope to have food vendors, craft items, children’s activities, and booths run by local businesses alongside the more traditional produce and flower vendors. Instead of the market just being somewhere to quickly grab the week’s produce and leave, it would act as an event in the community similar to Art in the Park or the summer’s Concert in the Park series. Families could gather, residents could chat with friends and neighbors, and it would bring the entire community together at one place and time. The market organizers also hope that the “market will financially benefit academic programs within the Coronado Public Schools”.
Mary Hillebrecht, manager of the current Coronado Farmers Market, shared:
“I am deeply concerned that we are going to be adversely affected by what is a street fair calling itself a farmers market. This is not a ‘full service’ farmers market -- it is truly a street fair. It is disingenuous to call it a farmer's market. The majority of vendors in that circumstance aren't farmers...(even the ones selling agricultural products) but most consumers don't understand that. The addition of more farmers and many other vendors in the Coronado marketplace will divide our market and cause a loss of income to family farmers who can little afford it.” […] “I personally feel despair over this situation because of the family farms that will be harmed. We have no ill will toward anyone. We have soldiered on bringing our products through thick and thin. We are on a site that doesn't use taxpayer resources, like a street or school does. The Coronado Ferry Landing has been good to us, providing us with a location all these years.”
At this time, the plan is to have both the current farmers market and the new farmers market coexist on separate days and in their separate locations. The Gerbels hope that the community “continues to support both” markets since they are very different and each one will fit into different people’s schedules.
Lisa Gerbel shared:
"We value the Tuesday farmers market and will continue to be loyal shoppers. We encourage locals to support the Tuesday market as well. Along with offering a more convenient time and accessible location, the proposed new farmers market will include the Certified Farmer’s Market designation plus additional components. A full-service farmers market allows for more food choices such as jams, honey, spices, baked goods, meat, eggs and dairy. The new vibrant market will encourage local businesses to participate. Having additional items at a market does not mean the farmers are not certified (see http://sdfarmbureau.org/BuyLocal/Farmers-Markets.php). We are confident this new market can be tailored to the high standards Coronadans expect and it will become an enduring success for the farmers, local businesses and the 1,000 plus residents who have expressed their desire and shown their support for this new endeavor."
The estimated kick-off date and grand opening of the new farmers market is this spring 2014. For more information and updates about the proposed market please visit and “Like” the Coronado Farmers Market Facebook page. So far the page already has close to 850 fans. To see a list of supporters please click here.
eCoronado will be sure to update you as things develop. Please stay tuned for further details in the coming weeks.
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