It makes us incredibly sad as current members of the Turlock Certified Farmers' Market when we read the Turlock City Council is still considering who will get the upcoming market. It's hard to understand what there is to consider when the town already has a good market, a market that has proven itself year after year. Derek Griffin has done an amazing job as the acting manager, bringing in vendors and adding special events to offer a market for all of the community. Young or old, there is something for everyone.
For many families, the Saturday market has become a ritual. There are not a lot of places to go or things to do for today's family as a unit. The TCFM, with its founding members, has made a place for families and individuals to have fun, learn and make friends and memories. Please don't take it away from us on someone else's whim.
This time of year the vendors are trying to prepare for the upcoming market. It is hard to do that when we are waiting for the outcome of who will be in charge of the market. Will it be the one that has been there for the last six years? Or will Peter Cipponeri get his way by starting a new for-profit farmers' market in the location on the same day? If he is allowed to have his way, then I hope he has vendors lined up because we won't be vendors under his rule. We will be forced to sell at other markets; I am reasonably sure others will follow.
If Mr. Cipponeri wants to have a different market, let him have it at a different location. Of course, he wants to have his market where the current one already exists. He said it himself when he stated that he put in for that location because that is the best place and time to have a farmers' market. If he were allowed to do this, all the work that TCFM market manager, board members, vendors and so many more apparently would mean nothing.
Judging by the letters to the editor in the local papers, the community has been clear on the continued support of the Turlock Certified Farmers' Market and letting it continue as is. It was also made clear by a number of people who stood up and spoke at the City Council meeting in support of the current market. We did not hear one person stand to support Mr. Cipponeri. This entire situation is wrong on so many levels. The City of Turlock has not been involved with the market for six years.
We sincerely hope the City Council will understand why this seems like such a slap in the face. Please allow Mr. Cipponeri to begin his dream somewhere else. Let him work and gain his own experience before he just moves in on the trail of someone else's success. By the way, if he wants year-round produce, tell him to go to the flea market on Tuesday.
Please allow TCFM to continue providing the community with a well-run and much-loved market, the Turlock Certified Farmers' Market.
— Ken and Elaine Packwood, Certified Organic Packwood Farms