By Karen Billing
Could fresh produce be hitting the Rancho Santa Fe village with a new Saturday morning farmers market? The Rancho Santa Fe Association is considering a proposal to bring in a weekly market and hopefully more bustling weekend business to village merchants.
Organizers told the Association on Nov. 1 that San Diego County would be willing to approve the farmers market as long as it received approval from the RSF Association board. The RSF Association would like to hear what the public thinks of the idea before approving it and hopes to have it as an action item on an agenda in the coming weeks.
RSF Association board director Eamon Callahan said that the initiative started about nine months ago, with local village merchants meeting to discuss how they might better market the village and drive in more customers. Callahan said at first the group was very contentious, complaining mostly about parking, but they all seemed to come together around the idea of a farmers market.
Callahan said local resident Janet Christ has taken the lead and several meetings have been held to decide what streets to hold it on and work out issues with the county,
“We’re almost there,” said Callahan. “I personally think this will be a great thing for the village, it will infuse some life into it.”
Tentative plans are for the farmers market to be held on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on El Tordo, between Avenida de Acacias and La Granada.
Christ said the market would include produce, bread, basil, oils — no clothing or “tsotchkes.”
“We’re encouraging local merchants to have a presence as well,” Christ said, noting that no vendor would be selected that would compete with a village business.
She said she hopes there could be things like flowers from Rancho Santa Fe Florists, coffee from Caffe Positano, cookies from The Pantry or stationary from Plume.
“The whole idea is to underscore our existing community and existing merchants and promote awareness that they’re here,” said Christ, adding that she hopes the market would create a walking district where people would wander over to Thyme for a bite or into Country Squire Gifts to shop.
Christ said they have been in discussions with all the building owners for them to sign off on the market. They have received support from the Culver family, the Woolleys and Dr. George Groth, who owns the medical building and has offered up his parking spaces on Saturday mornings. They have not yet touched base with the owner of the Rancho Santa Fe Pharmacy building, but Christ said if the owner has a problem, they could have the market end before the pharmacy parking lot.
Most of the residents the committee has spoken to have been supportive of the proposed market, Christ said.
Christ said it’s important to note that there is no longtime commitment or contract for the market. They can try it for a while and if it doesn’t work or issues arise, the market can be stopped at any time.