It didn't take long for the Turlock Certified Farmers Market to find a new location for the 2016 season. Just one week after withdrawing from the City of Turlock's proposal process to operate a downtown farmers market, the TCFM announced it will be moving its popular market to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds.
“When we began looking for a place to relocate, we turned to the community that has supported TCFM throughout this entire process,” said Board Chair Elizabeth Claes. “We are so humbled and thankful to those from the Stanislaus County Fair who graciously invited us to relocate on the fairgrounds when they discovered we were looking for a new location. TCFM is proud to be a part of a place that holds such historical agriculture significance for this area.”
For the previous six years, TCFM has operated a market in downtown Turlock. In December 2015, Golden State Farmers Markets Association requested a street closure from the City to run a farmers market in the exact same place, time and dates that TCFM operated their market. The Turlock City Council voted to adopt a Request for Proposals process to settle the matter of the competing street closure requests.
While the TCFM had submitted a proposal for the City Council to consider, the Board decided in the end to withdraw from the process and seek a different location. On March 22, the City Council awarded the contract to operate a downtown farmers market to GSFMA owner Peter Cipponeri.
Claes said last week that TCFM was investigating a number of possible locations, but once TCFM Board members saw the opportunities and many amenities the fairgrounds offered, they knew it was a perfect match. The board chose one of the ag pavilions on the west side of the grounds along Soderquist Road to hold the market.
The TCFM will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays May 7 through Oct. 29 at the fairgrounds — taking a break July 9 and 16 while the Stanislaus County Fair operates. Free customer parking will be provided in the parking lot on Soderquist Road between Fulkerth Road and Canal Drive.
“We have always worked towards having a farmers market here at the fairgrounds and look forward to this partnership with Turlock Certified Farmers Market,” said Fair spokesperson Adrenna Alkhas.
The market will feature TCFM's regular line-up of growers and vendors and on opening day, Tony and the Tough Times will provide live music and KCSS Stan State Radio will host a live broadcast.
“Our vendors and patrons will enjoy the shady trees, large areas with lawn, the pavilion and the easy parking,” said Derek Griffin, TCFM market manager.
The change of venue allows the TCFM to operate without a City permit, as it will be enclosed on the fairgrounds — which is the 38th Agricultural District, a state agency whose directors are appointed by the governor — and not on City property.
GSFMA is expected to operate its downtown farmers market from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 7 through Oct. 29 on East Main Street from Center to Thor streets.
"Two farmers markets in Turlock will be great," said Mayor Gary Soiseth. "While I wanted to see cooperation between the two operators, I know that each market will be successful on its own. In the end, Turlock's residents win by having two market options; one in our historic downtown and one at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds."