The fruits and veggies will continue to flow in downtown Long Beach, although, for now, at a new, temporary spot.
Last Friday, the property manager of the City Place shopping center suddenly ejected the open-air Long Beach Downtown Farmers Market that has operated Fridays in a section of the center at 4th Street and Promenade North for the past eight years.
Operators of the farmers market and sellers of handmade arts and crafts were given notices early in the morning to vacate the premises, making it their last day at that location.
But now, Harbor Area Farmers Markets (HAFM), which opened in Long Beach more than 33 years ago and now operates six weekly farmers markets, including the one downtown, announced the operation will remain open today, July 19, from 10am to 3pm, at a new, temporary location at 641 Pine Ave., just south of West 7th Street. HAFM manages approximately 35 farmers and local food artisans that sell to the downtown Long Beach community.
“Our goal was to quickly find a temporary solution to avoid the economic and social losses that our market and the downtown community would experience,” said Dale Whitney, HAFM manager, in a statement. “Rather than bringing our problems to City Hall, we’re bringing a solution and our gratitude. We just want to move onward and upward. We appreciate the outpouring of support from the Long Beach community and are pleased to announce that we’ll be open for business on Friday.”
HAFM officials stated that Mike Wylie and Nima Nami of Cultural Alliance of Long Beach and Historic Old Pine Avenue offered up the space, adding that a verbal agreement has been reached and the insurance documents are in the process of being settled and acquired.
“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to help a fellow Long Beach nonprofit,” stated Wylie. “We strive to raise the bar in local giving, and we look forward to future partnerships to serve the downtown Long Beach community.”
HAFM officials also said they met with Long Beach Vice Mayor and 1st District Councilmember Robert Garcia, who expressed support for finding both temporary and permanent locations in order to “continue to serve downtown residents uninterrupted.”
To stay open permanently in downtown, however, HAFM has asked for city officials’ help in facilitating “any required permits and show leniency and compassion on any fees associated with acquiring the temporary and permanent locations,” according to HAFM officials.
“All of our farmers and food artisans are small businesses, and we don’t want them to suffer because of what happened,” Whitney stated. “Our market is where thousands of downtown residents and office workers buy their food every week. The farmers market is the essence of community, culture and local commerce, and we don’t want to miss a beat.”
Janice Schuerman, operations manager of City Place, could not be immediately reached for comment before the Signal Tribune’s press time.
Julia Kohn, spokesperson for HAFM, however, said there were several reasons the property manager forced out the farmers market, including planned construction in the area, with Chuck E. Cheese’s and other restaurants moving into the center. Nordstrom Rack’s closing was also a factor.