Farmer's Market Expansion Lambasted

Shop owners attacked a plan to expand the weekly event onto Sixth Street.


Old Town business owners denounced a plan to expand the during a meeting today.

Several merchants stood before a podium in the and told the that the weekly event steals their customers.

The council gave the market the go-ahead to expand onto Sixth Street in October. To read about it,.

Some of the stands at the market offer the same goods available in permanent shops elsewhere in Old Town, said Evelyn Honea, the owner of Temecula House of Jerky.

One vender sells beef jerky at the Farmers Market, she said. "I find it very disheartening you would allow this kind of business," she told the council.

The Farmer's Market signed a deal with the city forbidding it from selling goods that compete with local merchants.

The market regularly breaks that deal, said Stephen Eldred, who runs a photography business in Old Town.

"We shouldn't reward somebody who continuously breaks their contract… by letting them expand using city funds," he told the council.

This is not the first time local shopkeepers raised these concerns. They denounced the event in 2007 when the council considered installing ballards on Sixth and Mercedes streets in case the market ever expanded.

"I specifically brought up the concerns you're hearing tonight about the Farmers Market," said Craig Puma, the owner of and a member of the Old Town Temecula Association, which advocates for the local store owners.

City leaders were unaware of the alleged contract violations, but the staff inspects it weekly to ensure it complies, said Councilmember Jeff Comerchero.

"We want to make sure the Farmers Market is operating in accordance with its contract," he said.

He asked the city staff to check on the critics' claims and report to the council.

"We've got to know what the facts are," he said. "I'm especially disturbed about… a beef jerky vender. Unless they're making it by hand, they shouldn't be there."

Fauntleroy Murphy March 14, 2012 at 07:04 PM
I find it completely ludicrous that our city leaders would undermine local business by subsidizing unfair competition yet, they do. The city council is well aware the FM contract is broken every Saturday. It has been pointed out to them repeatedly at council meeting over the years. Just go back and watch the meetings. You will see on the council is flat out lying about being unaware of this. It’s very unfortunate that our electoral voters are so disconnected from what is going on in their own community.
SPB March 14, 2012 at 07:49 PM
unfair competition? Its a farmers market that is open for half a day once a week. If a brick and mortar business in old town is suffering it probably has more to do poor location, overpriced merchandise or plain bad luck. If anything the weekly farmers market is a golden opportunity for old town businesses to advertise to new clientele. Set up a booth and sell your wares side by side with the "unfair" competition. Let people who would otherwise skip the shops in old town learn about your business. The key to a successful business can't just be in zoning out competition. The city council isn't disconnected on this issue. They know plenty of people love the farmer's market.
Fairness March 14, 2012 at 09:52 PM
I will try and explain the best I can. Please keep an open mind. Mr Puma is not against the farmers market nor it's expansion. He is part of a Old Town Assc. that agrees with it. But he does not represent me! The situation with the farmers market is complicated. People call the entire market a Certified Farmers Market but the truth is that only a small portion is certified by the state as such. I know that most of us would welcome an even larger Certified Market. The rest of what is happening there is a not considered Certified. The market pays 400 dollars a month to use that space, some 30,000 plus sqf. and it is a private business. It is not a non-profit to the best of my research.That is part of the problem! I don't feel that is true nor fair competition. The contract does say they are restricted to produce, flowers and artisans, I believe for that reason. I know I and others pay fair market value rent for my stores here in Old Town and it is close to what they pay in busy costal towns. That includes the shop that sells Jerky across from my store. But We both pay fair market rent!! To keep my doors open I have daily operating expenses and can not just move from city to city if all is not good. Saturday should be my busiest day and it is not. Yes people come to buy there produce and flowers and that is great. But to think that the tourist that is checking out of the hotel and ahead for Old Town is not diverted by the market is not correct.
Fairness March 14, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Cont: Old town attracts many people on it own but on Saturdays they have an additional retail market on that parking lot to buy from. There are other cost to the tax payer and I would like to know what they are in dollar value. Also just so everyone knows I have been on the waiting list for the market for many years and I am not offered a space as per the contract. I am told there is no more room for food vendors time and time again. Even after the Jerky vendor was let in. I am all for the American way, I just want to see fair be fair! Thank you for your time!!
Your Neighbor March 14, 2012 at 10:07 PM
please... go on...
DunDe March 14, 2012 at 10:09 PM
thats all i see when i go is food....good food....fresh food lots and lots of food. i on the other hand am very underemployed and would love to try and sell some handmade clocks for children... but because the market is soooooo small i am unable to present my beautiful hand crafted paper mache clocks!!! please expand
DunDe March 14, 2012 at 10:18 PM
i think that a few comments have indicated that a certified farmers market whould represent "home grown and or home made" is that the correct meaning of a farmers market. leaving the brick and morter establishments to sell and rep the more production type products...what ever they may be????? please educate me...
Fairness March 14, 2012 at 10:58 PM
I got this from the California Certified Farmers Market @ ccfm.com Our mission is to ensure an environment where genuine California Farmers can sell their fresh picked fruits and vegetables directly to the community; Re-establishing the relationship between Farmers and consumers. CA Certified Farmers' Markets provides quality crops, straight from the Farms to the local community. California Certified Farmers Markets and the communities we serve support safe and responsible agriculture. (End) I hope that helps, It is very important to understand that the CERTIFIED PORTION of a market is the only thing considered a Certified Farmers Market and the rest is just an added event.
TVOR March 15, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Perhaps some folks should take some pictures and video of the vendors at the FM and show up to a city council meeting en masse to demand the city council enforce the rules.
wolfcreek March 15, 2012 at 03:54 AM
I think that the “businesses” in Old Town should be given booths at the Farmer’s Market to compete. They would be able to see if they can make money or at least promote their business. A free booth or booths could be given to the “businesses” on a rotating basis if they choose to do so.
JJ Mclure March 15, 2012 at 01:46 PM
old town is crap
Debbi Drew March 15, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Susan, I believe the majority of shop owners in Old Town do appreciate the amount of foot traffic being brought in by our Farmer's Market. Some of us, me included, actually open our shops earlier on Saturday to take advantage of the added foot traffic. I shop at the farmers market. I sell Peanut Brittle at my store and there is a Peanut Brittle vendor at the Farmer's Market, it's quite good and I always enjoy a sample myself. I do not think the market hurts my business at all, I think the market brings thousands of locals into Old Town that otherwise wouldn't bother, how can this be bad? I think the market is an attraction, just like the ice skating rink at Christmas (another "for profit" that we don't see anyone screaming to get rid of). Unfortunately this is a simple case of the squeaky wheel getting all the attention and sadly it's easier to lump us all together than to say there is a small group of merchants that opposes the market. Sadly many who support the market are concerned about speaking out publicly because of the vehemence of the group that is opposed and concern over public retaliation. This article has completely misrepresented Mr. Puma’s comments as he DOES support the market and because of that stance he has been attacked verbally and targeted by this group.
Debbi Drew March 15, 2012 at 06:43 PM
(cont.) What Mr. Puma was trying to express in his comments is that none of us think the market is perfect, but he is working through appropriate channels to try and make the market the best that it can be, rather than publicly lambasting something we all know the community loves. I am a proud supported of the Farmer’s Market and a proud member of the Old Town Temecula Association. I believe in working together to try and make Old Town the best place it can be; even when we don’t agree I think we can find ways to work together without publicly slandering each other. Hopefully soon the consumer will be able to tell exactly which merchants don't oppose the market as we will be proudly displaying signs showing our support. My thanks to those of you that do come down to the market and take the time to meander through town; I’m sure you’ve discovered how many great boutiques, gourmet shops, wine venues, restaurants, galleries and businesses we now have.
DunDe March 15, 2012 at 09:40 PM
As a resident of Temecula, I don't shop at many of the shops in Old Towne because I am struggleing as a single mom only getting 14-20 hrs a week working at a local big box store. I would love more hours but there are none? That is why 1) I am only able to do a little shopping at the FM where prices are more reasonable than all the shops and 2) I would love to persue my craft and sell at the farmers market where it is so reasonable to rent a booth that is if there wern't such a long waiting list. The differance a little more income would make might mean a little shopping in the regular stores. But we need to expand the market! I remember when I first drove into Temecula nine years ago, the sign on the side of the freeway said "land of entrepreneures" (did I spell that right?), well....
Christine March 16, 2012 at 10:47 PM
As a resident of Temecula who has no invested interest in conflicting business in the area...I can say unbiasly that I feel the farmers market could benefit signicantly from an expansion....I often go there and enjoy the venders, but due to the small size of the market I am completely done in 15 minutes or so. I would love to take family and friends there as something to do that kills a few hours on the weekend as opposed to killing a few minutes on the weekend...I don't find it worth attending when I spend more time getting there then browsing the market.....so I say expand away...make it bigger and better and I'll personally go much more often.....and bring others !!!
DunDe March 16, 2012 at 11:39 PM
The bigger and better the more people it will draw to old towne from far and wide... that benefits e v e r y o n e
Linda Engle March 17, 2012 at 12:39 AM
We have been selling produce at the farmers market for 12 years . The same few Old Town merchants have been complaining for years . They don't get anywhere because they are incorrect. We do have a contract with the city, we pay rent , many permit fees , taxes and insurance . We all carry a City of Temecula business license and have NO city funding. We are inspected EVERY Saturday by the city and have regular inspections by the Dept. of Agriculture , health dept, fire dept. and code enforcement .Anything you see that is not farm, food , or handmade is merchandise from an Old Town brick & mortar shop, in compliance. We cover every walk of life that embodies America . We are veterans , seniors and disabled people . We are Jewish , Christians & Muslim working side by side. Syria, Greece , Turkey , Mexico ,Tunesia, England , Romania ,countries in Africa , we're all there. We are small business owners & farmers whose elementary school children can weigh produce on a scale, say please & thank you & count back change . We aren't " gypsies " or " carni 's " ,but we would welcome them too , in compliance . Our farmers markets are full of the most , grateful , humble , helpful and tolerant people . We do not practice harassment , discrimination , or intolerance as a few Old Town merchants do . Shame on them . Linda
Artemis Gordon March 17, 2012 at 05:25 AM
Kudos Linda Engle, You sound like a Good American.
susansmith1 March 17, 2012 at 10:22 AM
Great post Linda. The Farmers' Market brings thousands to Old Town every Saturday. A great deal of those people circulate through Old Town shops and restaurants for the remainder of the day. Many of the booths at the Market are actually Old Town merchants. The Market, which is open only until 12:30 once per week, can't hurt merchants in Old Town, it can only help by bringing in 3,000 customers per week. Old Town wouldn't see most of these customers if it weren't for the Farmers' Market. Most every city has a farmers' market with a variety of produce, food, and merchandise. It works because people love to shop at farmers' markets and it works because it supports the other businesses in the town by drawing in crowds. If two and one-half hours (10:00 - 12:30) once a week is hurting your business, maybe you should rethink your product? I, personally, love to shop at the farmers' market and do wander through Old Town shops and restaurants also, including The Bank Restaurant.
Your Neighbor March 17, 2012 at 04:51 PM
THANK YOU for that response Linda. Awesome.
Spice Merchants March 17, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Linda, your comments were perfect! We are will be celebrating 5 years of business in Old Town this year. We love the farmers market! We depend on the farmers market every Saturday! We even open up early for our "farmers market customers". In our first year of business, we had a booth @ the farmers market every Saturday. We didn't even sell product, we talked about our product and pointed people to our store, which is located right around the corner. We wanted our store by the farmers market for this reason! It takes alot of work, time and money to make your business a success. Part of our success is from the farmers market customers!
Dahlia C March 17, 2012 at 09:07 PM
My family loves the Farmer's Market. Temecula would not be the same without it. We love the huge variety of local fresh produce and enjoy strolling through the artisan section. We have been to lots of farmers markets but we have not found another with as great an atmosphere as this one. The reason we go to Temecula is for the market and afterwards we always end up in Old Town!
CSP March 20, 2012 at 05:00 AM
I find the community is disconnected on the contract itself. Ask yourself...how many food vendors are allowed in the market? 15? 20? the answer is 20. There are 25 at the market. So they broke the contract? No! Veterans are exempt. It's in the contract. thisis one small example of mis-information. Mis-comunication and flat inaccuracy in the examination of the market. The health department, code enforcement, agricultural dept and and more are there every week inspecting the market. That's the reality. The market brings 3000-4000 people to town and would allow Old Town businesses to pass out flyers or other marketing material at the market to invite consumers to their businesses. few if any do. Who's fault is that. Bottom line...don't believe everything you hear on th efirst go around. most likely, there's more to the story.
Louison Bobet May 24, 2012 at 12:09 PM
good for you, but there is something wrong with your taste buds!
Linda May 25, 2012 at 06:48 PM
As a store owner, I see many people come to the Farmers Market, buy there and leave. I observed this from our parking lot several Saturdays. We also pay high fees for building inspections, fire safety, business licenses, etc. Most do not walk around and they take up all of the parking so our regular customers refuse to come out on Saturday to shop. The Farmers Market manager makes impossible to have a booth there, always told there's a 5 year wait, it's all about cronyism. Every vendor know that the city just does for itself. Rod Run is a nightmare for merchants, they bring outsiders, take away all of our parking, and have no sales, pretty much true of any major event they have. Some restaurants may benefit from drink and food sales but the other merchants suffer poor sales and messes to clean u after the crowds leave.
Diane Walden June 02, 2012 at 08:26 PM
As 25-year Temecula residents with a 4-year-old local business, we would love to be in Old Town but cannot find a space as yet. I'm looking forward to it, as the Farmer's Market's, health-oriented demographic/shopper is perfect for our organic loose leaf teas and freshly brewed beverages. We've been in a hidden location in a local plaza for 4 years now and wish there WAS a Farmer's Market in our plaza every weekend for foot traffic! If any of the merchants there would like to trade spaces with us, just let me know! :) ..Diane Walden, California Tea & Coffee Brewery
stef June 02, 2012 at 09:40 PM
I've haven't been to the Farmer's Market in over 6 mos., because it's more swap meet than farmer oriented. Expansion is good because It's currently overcrowded with vendors and, thus, too many people to get around (fire hazard?). If you want to slow down to see a vendor, you're holding up the people behind you. Maybe keep the non-farmers (including massages, caricatures, ...) on Sixth Street, and farmers in the current parking lot.
todd January 25, 2013 at 09:05 PM
Katinka: You express your concerns quite well.
todd January 25, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Great marketing plan. We do visit you often and usually on Farmer's Market day, too. You have product that people want to buy and you present it very well. It is fun to come to your shop.
David Four Feathers January 31, 2013 at 05:14 PM
Four Feathers Hi Linda: I'm one of those guys that is a vet, I am a senior and semi disabled and have been on that waiting list for at least 2 to 3 years. I have known you from other venues and know you to be fair and just as a person and business person. All my products, Native American styled Silver work and hand carved Canes and walking sticks are strictly "hand crafted!" I still have not had the opportunity to sell at the market. Thank you for stepping up about who we are as vendors. 95% of us are hardworking and honest people who need to subsidize whatever incomes we have. I have only my social security and whatever pension I have from teaching (which isn't much) to depend on. I have never been a Carni nor a Gypsy!!! I know at least one store owner and a previous store owner that has left Old Town because of the constant irrational in-fighting. Maybe I will never make it in to the market but thank you for clearing up some stereotypical BS. We as vendors support our local governments and societal issues the same as Store owners. If a store owner is intimidated by a guy in a booth, maybe he/she should take a long look in the mirror and find out why! Is it your product, your customer service, or what is it that is causing failure in your business. Yes, the economy is hard on all of us, but we all have the right to make a living!!! Monopoly has never been allowed here! Hitch up your belts, and help versus hindering!!! David Four Feathers


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