Interest in New Coronado Farmers Market Continues to Grow

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.

A sign directing people to the Farmers Market held at the Coronado Ferry Landing every Tuesday.

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.

Please share your thoughts on the proposed New Farmers Market. What do you think?

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Anne Morse

Staff Writer

eCoronado.com

Please contact us with your Coronado Story ideas!

Views: 1075

Tags: business, community, people

Comment by Orange & Park on February 10, 2014 at 9:18am

Love the idea of a centrally-located, weekend farmers market. We try to make it to the Tuesday one but mid-week is tricky and of course, the location is about as far off the beaten path as it comes. Kudos to all the folks driving the new effort!

Comment by Pamela McCollum on February 10, 2014 at 9:36am

I think folks are really naive if they think this new market isn't going to have a negative impact on the current market. Plus, I'm wondering where this "supposed" farmers market is going to go? Open space doesn't magically appear in the Village. Weekends are always crowded and in the high season it's crazy. There is nowhere to park, let alone add a weekly street fair to the mix. No thanks. I'll stick to the current market and hope they can survive after the Ferry Landing starts gouging us all for parking.

Comment by Steve SCannell on February 10, 2014 at 9:48am

More congestion, nice. Fortunately this will never see the light of day. The Environmental Impact Report, Traffic Study etc, etc, etc, will kill this idea. Welcome to the realities of gubment.

Comment by Wendy Birnbaum on February 10, 2014 at 10:27am
Be careful what you wish for. I would not support any venue that would encourage even more day trippers and Coronado traffic congestion. If I want a 'street fair' atmosphere, I can go to Hillcrest on Sunday or little Italy on sat. We are a small town and that's why I love it!
Comment by Jerry Toci on February 10, 2014 at 11:18am

Please take seriously the concerns of Mary Hillebrecht, manager of our current Farmers Market, which provides a wonderful source of locally-grown organic foods.  Due to poor planning and overbuilding, there is no open space for such a market/street fair venture in Cramenado. It would be a chaotic mess of noise, odors, traffic and rubbish, creating even more work for our police and public services personnel.  Do YOU want it in YOUR front yard? 

Comment by Ken Fitzgerald on February 10, 2014 at 11:22am

Given the bad congestion and traffic downtown, the Il Fornaio lot would actually make a great location for a weekend Farmer's Market, and it would draw visitors from downtown San Diego using the ferry.  Locals can walk or bike there; it's only a mile or so from downtown Coronado.

Comment by MIKE GAPP on February 10, 2014 at 1:21pm

Boy, folks will think anything new is necessary these days.

NO, as in "Please, G_d, No!" to a new market. We've got one. And we've got plenty of homeless, let's not add pickpockets and carnies....

And let me get this straight, with the grocery stores already taking hits with Oh Bummer Care, closures, and impacting personnel rosters, Coronado is going to further impact Boneys, Albertsons, Vons, etc.,...? It's called a business relationship, folks - those of you who can remain married know what that actually means.... cooperation. You can't choke those folks, they've been helping to support this town for decades.... How about showing some common decency? At least until the economy improves.

My family and I work on a farm at least once a week BTW.

Thank you for your time, next issue please....

Mike Gapp

Comment by Tim Nelson on February 10, 2014 at 2:58pm

This would be FANTASTIC! I personally love going to the farmer's market in Little Italy on Saturday's. The thought of having a farmer's market here on island, and not have to go to Little Italy,  would be great. Plus, this would generate more business for the local businesses that struggle in the off season. I don't think that the Little Italy has a "carnie" or "Street Fair" feel at all. The quality and variety of products available there is amazing. If we could get something similar to that here, I would go there every week. I'm all for it!

Comment by Steve SCannell on February 10, 2014 at 5:46pm

Tim,

Please go to Little Italy! This is not Smell-A (Los Angeles) or the Jersey Shooooooore. Yikes!

Comment by Alison (Atkinson) Newhall on February 13, 2014 at 9:00pm

No, no, no for all the reasons listed. Bad idea.

Comment (keep it clean & on topic)

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