By Karen Billing
A formal application will soon come before the Rancho Santa Fe Association board to test the viability of a farmers market on Saturday afternoons in the village.
The new proposal for the market is that it would run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on La Gracia, the street in front of The Inn between Linea del Cielo and La Flecha.
The “high-end” market (read: no tchotchkes) is meant to match Rancho Santa Fe’s community spirit, according to Janet Lawless Christ, who has been working on the idea of a village farmers market since 2010.
“It will bring a boost in vitality and in fun for the residents,” Christ said. “It will bring a reason for people to come into town on Saturdays.”
Additionally, the market would increase visibility for village merchants.
As farmers markets are required by the county to benefit a local non-profit, Christ said they are looking at the market to benefit the Chuck Courtney Honorary Scholarship Fund. Projections are that the market could bring in $1,500 a week.
The manager of the market would be the same one who runs the Encinitas Farmers Market. The manager would be in charge of all the logistics, such as traffic control, booth rentals, set up, and clean up.
The market ran into some opposition earlier in the year with the proposed location of El Tordo. Sixteen El Tordo residents signed a petition against the market on their street, citing parking as a major concern.
The market planners believe that the new location will not have a big impact—representatives of The Inn were supportive as they have no events on Saturdays before 4 p.m. and while the street will have to be closed it won’t interfere with traffic flow, Christ said.
“We think we have a great solution that doesn’t annoy a lot of residents,” said market proponent Eamon Callahan.
Christ said the location would also prompt people to walk down the village streets and hopefully check out the restaurants and stores.
At least one Rancho Santa Fe resident was in attendance to speak out against the market.
Rory Kendall, a 50-year resident of the Covenant, said that he still fails to see the market’s benefit for members, pointing out nearby markets already exist, such as the one in Del Rayo Village Shopping Center and the permanent one, Chino Farms.
“This is to bring the community together in a social atmosphere, which you don’t do at Chino’s,” Callahan said. “Let’s try it.”