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."