Farmers market a family affair
EDITOR: This is directed to the Sonoma City Council.
I have never written a letter to my City Council in the almost nine years I have lived in Sonoma, but your recent changes to the Tuesday Night Farmers Market make me sad to see what Sonoma is becoming.
In 2008, my then-boyfriend and I moved to Sonoma from Southern California. We immediately started attending the Tuesday Night Farmers Market hoping to meet young couples like ourselves and enjoyed running into people we were beginning to meet in our town. We stayed late, bought our fruit/veggies for the week, and enjoyed dinner as a couple from the vendors.
Eventually we made good friends, and we always made it a point to meet on Tuesdays at the market. By then, my boyfriend was now my fiancée. We still stayed late, bought our fruits/veggies for the week, enjoyed the different music and mused how much we loved our town.
We married in 2010, and welcomed our daughter in 2012. She enjoyed her first farmers market at the age of 5 months. We still bought our fruits/veggies, enjoyed some local food, but had a bedtime routine to get to now, so no longer stayed late. In 2013, our son came along.
In these years we have grown from a young couple to a family who consistently goes to the farmers market here in town. Why? Because it is the only free, local, community event we can attend. I am a teacher and my husband works for a nonprofit. We’re lucky we bought our house on the west side of town in 2011 and can even afford to make ends meet to live here. We have no parks/recreation department to offer any community oriented events. There are non-wine drinking people who live in this town, and a whole bunch of children who love the market and look forward to seeing friends, dancing, and eating fruit from the farmers while munching on dinner from the food trucks.
A few food vendors every other Tuesday is going to be mayhem to even try and get food. Even with all the food vendors this past year, there were long lines.
I do not understand the speed and haste in which you are changing the market. Keep it as it is next year and actually reach out and talk to your constituents! Where were all the moms on this ad hoc committee who would tell you, thank goodness for this one event we have each week where you don’t have to dish out hundreds of dollars just to participate in a hometown event.
When my daughter heard the music was being moved to the amphitheater, she cried out, but where will I dance? I love to dance!
Please, please, please, slow down this manic speed of change and think about your community first. We support the farmers, but find a better balance in order to not ruin a good thing.
Give the people the market they want
EDITOR: I attended the City Council meeting on Jan. 23 about making changes to how the Tuesday Night Farmers Market is structured for 2017 and going forward. I came in with the misconception that the major change would be that two Tuesdays per month there would be no food vendors and no music and two Tuesday’s per month there would be. It turns out that there will be music every Tuesday, but with a trial of having it in the amphitheater on two Tuesdays per month for a couple of months to see how that goes. And there would be prepared food vendors every Tuesday, but only three food trucks would be allowed and this would be only on two Tuesdays per month. In addition the ratio of prepared food vendors to farmers selling produce would decrease considerably. In other words, many fewer prepared food vendors every Tuesday.