The Turlock Downtown Farmers Market is starting the 2017 season under a new name—Central Park Market Turlock — along with a new operator and is looking to move from Saturday mornings to Thursday nights.
Local jewelry maker Valeria Jimenez announced Friday that she is the new downtown farmers market operator and promoter, and that the market hopes to bring back the old tradition of a Thursday night event.
“This is about celebrating downtown,” said Jimenez. “I’m excited to see the restoration, excited to see people coming back downtown on Thursday nights.”
The Turlock City Council selected Peter Cipponeri and Golden State Farmers Market Association to operate the downtown farmers market in March 2016, following a new request for proposals process implemented by the City in December 2015.
The nonprofit Turlock Certified Farmers Market had operated the downtown farmers market for the previous six years before the change in process. Instead of completing the RFP process, TCFM decided to move its market to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds.
Following complaints that downtown street closures were negatively affecting East Main Street businesses, the Downtown Farmers Market was moved in August 2016 from the 300 block of East Main Street to Central Park, located on the corner of Main Street and Golden State Boulevard, eliminating the need for a street closure.
Although Jimenez said she is not an employee of Cipponeri’s, she said the market would operate under GSFMA’s contract with the City.
Both Jimenez and Cipponeri said the market’s move to Thursday nights, pending City approval, was an attempt to show support for TCFM.
“This is not about a competition,” she said. “We have 70,000 people in Turlock, we can support two markets, just don’t make people choose.”
“It’s always been my attempt to better the community that I’ve grown up in. I love Turlock and it was never my intent to cause any divisions within our city,” said Cipponeri in a released statement. “The new Central Park Market on Thursday nights should demonstrate my commitment to Turlock. While I will not personally be involved in the market, I know Valeria and her team will do a great job of starting this new tradition.”
According to Jimenez, the Central Park Market will offer any TCFM vendors a free spot on Thursday nights for the first season.
Along with moving to Thursday nights, the 2017 Central Park Market is also expected to include new beer and wine vendors, local arts and crafts and more live music.
“There will be a lot of artisans,” said Jimenez, who also stated the market will highlight young talent. “It’s going to be about celebrating all things local.”
The Central Park Market is also making an effort to support local nonprofit organizations. Jimenez said the market will donate profits to a different charity each month. The first charity to be highlighted throughout the month of May will be the Salvation Army.
More information about special market events and live performances will be released as they come available.
Central Park Market Turlock plans to open at 5 p.m. May 4 and run every Thursday night through October.