The Turlock Certified Farmers Market will not be operating a downtown market this year, however, the nonprofit organization may still be able to offer its loyal patrons a farmers market at a different location in 2016.
"The Turlock Certified Farmers Market Board is looking forward to the future," said TCFM Board President Elizabeth Claes. " We don't know exactly what that is, but we're hopeful of whatever that is will be the best for our vendors.
"The community has given us many different ideas and we are open to investigating those ideas; we're exploring our options," continued Claes.
Claes confirmed that the TCFM Board has decided to move forward as an organization and is seeking a new venue.
For the past six years, TCFM has operated a downtown farmers market. In December 2015, the Turlock City Council voted to implement a Request for Proposals process to operate a downtown farmers market after Golden State Farmers Market Association President Peter Cipponeri filed a street closure request for his for-profit business to hold a market at the same location, dates and time of the existing TCFM event.
The TCFM Board was against the RFP process from the start, stating that is not the best instrument to gauge what the community wants in a farmers market nor adequately reflects the value of a nonprofit farmers market.
TCFM submitted a RFP to the City in March to operate the downtown market, along with GSFMA. However, when the City Council voted to postpone choosing between TCFM and GSFMA and instead asked each organization to answer additional questions and attempt to work together to submit a joint proposal — something that had been attempted in the past but to no resolution —TCFM withdrew its proposal.
On Tuesday, the City Council awarded the three-year contract to operate a downtown farmers market to Cipponeri and GSFMA.
"Congratulations to Golden State Farmers Market Association and we hope them the best," said Claes regarding the Council's action on Tuesday.
Claes said the TCFM Board has contacted their vendors to let them know they are seeking a different venue for their market.
At the March 15 City Council meeting, a number of TCFM vendors spoke in favor of the nonprofit market and stated that they would not participate in a downtown Turlock market if GSFMA was chosen as the operator.
"I have no interest being in a market that TCFM has no part of. If there ever was a time to listen to the people..that time to listen is now. It should be crystal clear to our representatives what that decision should be," said TCFM vendor Nick King of King's Cattle on March 15.
Claes said the vendors are the people who are most important to TCFM's market.
"If we don't have vendors, we don't have a market," she said. "They may choose to go elsewhere, we don't fault them. They have to make the best decision for their business."