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Contract Extended for Farmers Market

Critics say the city is favoring an organization that competes with their shops for business.

A contract for the was extended today for four months.

The approved the extension during a meeting at the today.

The city needs more time to deal with the paperwork necessary because the arm of the city government that delt with the market, called the Redevelopment Agency, under a . The city needs time to deal with red tape so a new branch of the government, called the "Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency," can make a deal with the Farmers Market organization, a staff members said.

Old Town during several meetings this year, saying it often breaks its current contract with the city by selling manufactured goods.

"I totally support a farmers market. I love fresh fruit and vegetables," said Stephen Eldred, who runs a photography business in Old Town.

He does not approve of the market selling mass-produced goods, because that creates city-sponsored competition for the shops in Old Town, he said. "We don't get to advertise on the city website… and the Farmers Market does," he said.

The city amended its contract with the market's organizer twice; in 2004, they mandated the market give preference to local merchants when they asks for booth space, and in 2007, they put restrictions on the non-agricultural products on sale.

City Council members agreed to study the possibility of amending the contract again and, if necessary, putting the contract allowing the market to operate out for a bid.

Local resident Gale Cunningham started the market in Temecula 21 years ago, and some Council members hesitated to take the market out of her hands. "I don't want to say (to Cunningham) willy-nilly… now that you've been successful, we're going to take your business model and shop it around," Councilmember Mike Naggar said.

City staff membersdue to complaints about contract violations and found none.

DunDe May 23, 2012 at 03:35 PM
i love the fm for it's fresh fruit and vegtables however it is a turn off when i see products that are not hand made yet i love hand made items but not many products appear truly hand made? if it is product not hand made it should not be allowed to be sold!!!! there needs to be tight restrictions on that... and in that arena i support the local shops.
Cik Bast May 24, 2012 at 02:19 AM
"The city needs time to deal with red tape so a new branch of the government, called the "Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency," can make a deal with the Farmers Market organization, a staff members said." Are you f-en kidding me. We need a new branch of Government to allow a Farmers Market? Idiots. We're seeing Government growth and the irresponsible way it occurs on a local level.
Stanley May 24, 2012 at 04:24 AM
The market attracts thousands each Saturday - even coachloads of old people on a day trip to Palm Springs. If anything it should be allowed to expand onto the street. It's only four businesses in Old Town that sell overpriced crap that are complaining.
Bob May 24, 2012 at 06:11 AM
Perhaps the city leaders, old town merchants and farmers market vendors. Should take a drive up to San Luis Obispo, to see first hand & experience how SLO's Thursday night Farmers Market is one of the most popular & thriving farmers markets in California. The downtown merchants, the farmers market vendors, the city & its Citizens all have one thing in common. They love it, it's entertaining & it's prosperous for all. I guarantee, it would be worth the road trip.
BAJ May 24, 2012 at 01:06 PM
The Market is a jewel and community asset. It supports the local economy and the slow food movement. It increases business in Old Town on Saturdays. The businesses that think they are being done in by the market are looking for a scapegoat - they really need to look at their rinky-dink, two-bit operations and face the reality they wouldn't be making it market or no market. Imagine - the market is open one morning a week and they are open seven days a week. What's wrong with this picture? And that argument "they can't advertise on the town website" - please, that's laughable.
wolfcreek May 24, 2012 at 02:11 PM
My wife and I really enjoy the Farmer’s Market. If anything I would like to see it expand. My wife and I shop Old Town quite often but Saturday morning it’s the Market. The businesses in Old Town need to find a way to capitalize on the crowds that attend the Market.
SPB May 24, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Visit SLO brewery and say hi to all those nice college girls while you're there! ;)
Fauntleroy Murphy May 24, 2012 at 03:16 PM
They already took a trip up to SLO and did just that. The findings included: the only retail products sold at the market where by the shop owners in the district. This prompted the latest changes to the contract. The stipulation that products be hand made is cirumvented by the market operators because the products are hand made by child labor in China. They are in compliance with the contract because they are hand made!
Fauntleroy Murphy May 24, 2012 at 03:24 PM
The city will not allow the businesses to capitalize on the crowds, no signs, no merchandise outside, etc. The city's solution to capitalize on the market is to open a booth at the market. For most businesses the added expense of booth space rentals and hiring employees just to compete is cost prohibitive. Since Saturdays are the biggest shopping day of the week, they might be better off just closing their stores and selling at the swap meet.
Fauntleroy Murphy May 24, 2012 at 03:52 PM
The contract as written is pretty good. The intentions to help OT merchants and allow the market to flurish are there. I don't believe the city or merchants expected the market operator to intentionally and willfully break the intent of the contract. If you look you can always find loopholes in a contract. It's sad that the merchants feel the city needs to inforce the contract. My feeling is the operator should just abide by the intent of the contract. Produce, products hand made by individuals in America, etc. Just leave the wal-mart type retail stuff out of the market. Let's see hand crafted wood-working, hand-made custom clothing, artisan foods, etc. The market should be world class and everyone wins, even the operator. I am so disapointed in the retail products yet, I still by my produce at the market because I want to support my local, organic growers.
3j May 24, 2012 at 05:44 PM
I love the SLO Farmer's market too. Temecula should have one on Thursday night as well as Saturday morning. The Old Town shop owners who are complaining need to participate in the Farmers Market rather than complain about it.
TVOR May 24, 2012 at 06:51 PM
I visited the FM last weekend and was pleasantly surprised to find that almost all vendors were local, small operations selling locally produced products. There may have been one or two exceptions but I didn't notice them. Thumbs up to the operators of our old town farmers market!
wolfcreek May 25, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Sorry Fauntleroy, but on Saturdays I see lots of merchant signs, outside displays, sign twirlers etc. They might be illegal but there is no enforcement nor should there be.
Bob May 25, 2012 at 04:45 AM
The SLO farmers market does not allow downtown merchants to sell their goods on the sidewalk or street side either. Unless they have a authorized booth and it has to be limited to food or services. No general merchandise is allowed. Which is a good thing because the Merchants Association does not want the event turned into a flea market. Most downtown retail merchants will tell you that the Thursday evening of farmers market is the busiest sales period of the week. In fact most extend their business hours to accommodate late night customers. I had been involved with the SLO farmers market, representing a local business. Sure there have been some issues between the farmers and the merchants and it almost always was over coordination & communication issues. It is a hugely successful and very popular weekly event in SLO town, drawing county wide locals and tourists alike. Temecula has the location, weather & demographics to be even more successful than SLO. Imagine Old Town farmers market on a Thursday night with bountiful farm venders, local restaurants grilling on the street, wineries showcasing their goods, old town merchants with thriving sales and customer traffic and in the middle of it all. The Temecula Gunfighters doing what they do best!


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