Farmers Market Update – August 2023

by Ken Katz

The newest vendor at the Grand Lake Market is Yaqueline Y Su which specializes in Cuban Criolla food. To get a better idea as to her menu, we’d highly recommend a visit to her website and, while you’re at it check out a YouTube video shot in the Copper Spoon Kitchen on Broadway where she’s hard at work with a Cuban trio singing in the background.

As we noted last month, the artisans selling at the market on Saturdays were in 100% agreement that their new location along Lake Park Avenue was highly problematic. In response to which, AIM’s top management scheduled a meeting last week at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church. Approximately, fifteen artisans attended — each of whom explained that they do this for a living and depend on Farmers Market sales on Saturdays to pay their bills. The consensus was that since the relocation, sales were down at least 50%. One of the artisans who couldn’t attend was Gary Chappell from Moonshadows Jewelry who remembers setting up under the freeway which has to be at least twenty years ago. Gary lives in Nevada City — a 140 mile, 2+ hour drive on a good day. Since the relocation, he says he has to come twice as often and still makes fewer sales.

I’m pleased to say that the management response from the CEO, Andy Naja-Riese all the way down to the new Lead Market Manager, Mahader Tesfai was genuinely concerned. There are constraints on what they can do since Farmers Market regulations require that artisans are assigned  a contiguous space clearly separate from agricultural booths and prepared foods. That said, AIM has promised to present a workable plan within the next two weeks.

One last note, Terrance Powell, a very capable Assistant Manager with a very quiet demeanor has just resigned. He says that he’s not sure what he’s going to do next but I’m pretty sure he’ll do it exceedingly well. Best of luck, Terrance!