Nothing says small-town local quite like a weekly farmers market, something which the Monterey Peninsula has in plenty, with farmers markets in various locations happening daily during peak summer season. But to the dismay of some of the farmers at nonprofit Everyone’s Harvest, which has hosted a Monday afternoon farmers market in Pacific Grove for over a decade, a new market may be coming to the town.
The possibility of a second market is still “just a concept,” according to P.G. City Manager Ben Harvey.
Hosted by Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Markets, which organizes multiple farmers markets in the area, the potential incoming market would occur on Thursday nights and feature wine tasting, farm-to-table dinners and highlight local restaurants in addition to the expected produce vendors.
According to Catherine Barr, executive director of Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Markets, city officials approached Everyone’s Harvest with the idea of changing the established Monday night market to Thursday nights and adding wine tasting years ago. Market organizers said no, arguing that changing the day would be detrimental to business.
Instead of bringing the idea to Everyone’s Harvest again, members of the P.G. Economic Development Commission approached Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Markets about adding a second market on another night.
Local farmer and former Everyone’s Harvest board member Jamie Collins has been vocal about her anger over the possibility of another farmers market, saying she anticipates the addition would “tank” the Monday night establishment.
“It’s going to be huge for [the farmers] not to have that income anymore,” Collins says.
Collins worries about the farmers who have been with Everyone’s Harvest for years, and she has concerns about where they’ll go if a new, more upscale market sets up shop on their territory. “What’s going to happen to the people who have been [with Everyone’s Harvest] for all those years?”
Barr argues the new market would be catering to a different clientele than any other market on the Peninsula, citing the wine tastings and dinners as the primary draw.
If the new market gets approved by the city, Pacific Grove’s ability to support two farmers markets wouldn't be tested until the spring of 2020, when the new market would arrive just in time for the summer fruits to arrive.
The Economic Development Commission is scheduled to discuss the possibility of the Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Market at an upcoming meeting at 4pm on Thursday, Jan. 9, at P.G. City Hall.