A vendor sells avocados at the farmers market on Valley Drive in Hermosa Beach. Photo by Chelsea Schreiber, staff.
Hermosa Beach could have two weekly farmers markets starting later in the fall.
In response to residents who are opposed to the Chamber of Commerce possibly moving the town’s current farmers market from Valley Drive to the downtown Pier Plaza, the Rotary Club of Hermosa Beach has offered to sponsor an additional market at the current location, according to city staff.
Members of the parks and recreation commission voted to advise city council to support both markets at their Tuesday meeting. Proponents of a Pier Plaza farmers market argue that it will bring more business and a more family friendly crowd to the downtown area. Supporters of keeping the market at Valley Drive say there is insufficient parking downtown and that the current location is easier to get to for most families and kids getting out of school at Hermosa Valley.
“My feeling is that there is a lot of right on both sides of this issue,” Robert Rosenfield, parks and recreation commissioner, said. “If there can be two markets, go for it.”
The current market at Valley Drive and 11th Street is organized by the chamber and meets on Fridays from noon to 4 p.m. The chamber wants to turn over the running of the market to the non-profit Raw Inspirations, change the location to Pier Plaza and change the day Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Pier Plaza farmers market would have 40 vendors and 82 tents, starting in October. The current market has about 35 vendors.
Some residents argued that the move would only be beneficial for businesses.
“I’d hate to see a family place being moved to downtown so the merchants can make more money,” Gila Katz said.
Stephen Fukumoto, a market vendor from Sunrise Ranch in Oxnard, said farmers wouldn’t be able to do a Wednesday market downtown because many of them already work other markets that day. Fukumoto also expressed concern that the rates for farmers would go up under Raw Inspiration’s management.
“It’s very rare in my experience that when a market is moved it gets better,” Fukumoto said.
Laurie Ford, a board member for the chamber and local business owner, said moving the market downtown would be beneficial to businesses and the community.
“It is absolutely shameful that the people of Hermosa Beach don’t feel safe sending their children to the plaza,” Ford said. “It’s time to activate the plaza in a family friendly way.”
The city council will vote on moving the original market and potentially opening a second market at its Sept. 9 meeting.