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Turlock Certified Farmers’ Market supports local growers

POSTED January 15, 2016 11:22 p.m.

The Board of the Turlock Certified Farmers’ Market supports Peter Cipponeri's interest in operating a for-profit farmers market in Turlock.  It seems reasonable that the city of Turlock could support two farmers markets; especially with the business model each brings to the community.  Mr. Cipponeri's business model is..."a year-round market which includes expanding the current TCFM vendor radius to draw in more certified growers throughout the state and to facilitate more competition at the market to lower prices and maintain a steady flow of goods...'I'm going to have enough produce so you don't have to go to the grocery store if you don't want to.' " (Turlock Journal, December 11, 2015).

 

The Turlock Certified Farmers’ Market features a wide variety of LOCAL vendors with a vast produce offering. Our market has been an invaluable asset to our many local vendors and their families by supporting their livelihood in a time when it is often difficult to find profitable venues. Our produce vendors are from Turlock and the immediate surrounding areas.  TCFM only sells "local" and the board limits the number of vendors selling same or similar goods. By limiting the number of vendors that sell the same produce and goods, we enable our vendors to make the profit they deserve.

 

If TCFM extends our market season, it will be at the request of our vendors; we won't sell produce grown outside the local growing area. Our business plan is to support local growers, by establishing a thriving downtown market that, in turn, supports our local economy.

 

Now, it is apparent why Mr. Cipponeri didn't express interest in attending our board meetings or becoming a board member; our business philosophies and marketing plans are vastly different.  If our market adds a month to the beginning of the season (April) or to the end (November), it will because the local farmers that sell at our market request that we do so. Currently, the largest percentage of our vendors wants to keep a seasonal market. In fact, some of our largest produce vendors, including Cipponeri Family Farms, leave the market before our end-of-October closing date due to lack of fresh produce.

 

The TCFM board, along with a majority of its vendors (certified and non-certified), supports a six-month+/- season.  I believe aligning the market to the growing season and the warm weather also brings more people to the downtown market. In turn, our patrons are excited when the market opens again in May.

 

I encourage the city council to work with Peter Cipponeri in developing a second farmers market in Turlock; this action eliminates the need to choose one over the other. This action allows two markets to prosper, with the city of Turlock supporting each.

 

Please support TCFM in its worthy endeavor to maintain our thriving community-operated downtown farmers market!

 

Jeani Ferrari

Turlock Certified Farmers Market

Founding Board Member

 

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