Berkeley Tuesday farmers’ market moving to Lorin District

Berkeley’s Tuesday farmers’ market in its current Derby Street location. Photo: Ecology Center

Some say change is as good as a holiday. Others counter that most resist change. But here’s what everyone can agree on: change comes, regardless.

And so it is that the Ecology Center’s Farmers’ Market on Tuesdays is set to move to a new location. The first formalized farmers’ market in the city, which has called Derby Street at MLK Way in South Berkeley home for 25 years, is slated to relocate come July 10 to the parking bay at Adeline and 63rd Streets in the Lorin District. The market will run, as it does now, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 6:30 p.m. (It’s a half hour earlier, to accommodate a church service on the site.)

The Ecology Center views the switch to a new spot in South Berkeley as part of an overall plan to increase access to farm-fresh food to areas that lack a major grocery store, though the shift also comes because the Berkeley Unified School District will be converting the adjacent playing field at the markets’ current location into a regulation-size baseball field.

“The move is really about effectively fulfilling our mission, both of supporting farmers and bringing healthy, local food to urban consumers, particularly in places where there is limited access to produce,” said farmers’ market manager Ben Feldman. “The timing is predicated by the construction, but this move would still be taking place, we’re just on an accelerated timetable due to the construction.”

Artichokes and fennel signal spring at the farmers’ market. Photo: courtesy Ecology Center

On Monday, the Adeline-Alcatraz Merchants Association voted unanimously in support of the move. “It’s a win-win all round,” said Sam Dyke, head of the association, and owner of The People’s Bazaar, an antiques and collectibles store on Adeline. “The market needs a new home, and there are only convenience stores selling junk food here. This is a great opportunity for our community to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Dyke, who currently walks 15 minutes to the Tuesday market, is happy to have it closer to his store. “You can make a meal out of farmers’ market samples,” Dyke said, “I hope that residents — including children — come and taste what’s great about fresh fruit and vegetables and become converts.”

The parking bay where the new market will set up shop actually came in second when farmers’ market and city officials toured South Berkeley for a new location, said Michael Caplan, director of the Office of Economic Development. But when the top choice — in front of the recently constructed Ed Roberts Campus — was ruled out because of traffic logistics (closing a section of MLK Way proved untenable), the Adeline and 63rd Street spot quickly became plan B.

Other potential pluses for the shift: increased visibility, access to more foot traffic, and proximity to BART, said Feldman. And — that bugaboo of urban life: parking — should be similar, if not better, he added. Some seniors at nearby Phillips Temple Church, which holds a prayer meeting on Tuesday night, were concerned about losing parking spots, but accommodations have been made to address that matter, noted Dyke.

Jennifer Millar, owner of Sweet Adeline Bakeshop, is delighted to welcome the market right in front of her door. “It’s a great new addition to our neighborhood,” she said.

Most vendors are happy about the move and welcome the chance to serve more people. Photo: courtesy Ecology Center

At this nascent stage most parties are talking up the possibilities for synergy between brick-and-mortar merchants and the one-day market, and preliminary research suggests there’s potential for vendors to reach more people and make more money at the site. The city will help out too, said Caplan, via a marketing campaign to spread the word about the shift.

The market will feature the same farmers and food artisans who currently sell at the Derby Street location. “Most of us see this as a positive move,” said farmer Tim Mueller of Riverdog Farm, which sells at all three Berkeley locations. “Transitions are always hard for people, so we may experience a little bit of a slump at the start. But we’re confident that are old customers will follow us here and we’ll find a whole new group of people, including many local residents, who welcome us into their neighborhood.”

Not every vendor is psyched about the shift. “Very sad and nostalgic as I have both shopped and sold at that market for 20 years now,” said Alex Hozven of Cultured Pickle Shop. “However I totally understand the logistical reasons the market is moving. There will undoubtedly be customer confusion, but after that initial period it will be interesting to see how it works out.”

HuNia Bradley, manager of the Ecology Center’s Farm Fresh Choice program for low-income residents, pointed out that the historic Lorin District is sometimes overlooked by business ventures. “We want to provide the same easy access to fresh, organic produce that other parts of Berkeley enjoy,” said Bradley of an area dotted with corner stores where nourishing food is typically scarce.

Unsurprisingly, folks who live within walking distance of the new location are happy with the shift, while some of those who will have to travel further are bummed to see their regular haunt go. But, as one farmers’ market fan said: “I would follow this market wherever it goes, even if it blasted off to the frozen tundra of the moon!”

Sarah Henry is the voice behind Lettuce Eat Kale. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

A Berkeley field of dreams close to reality… after 15 years
Farmers’ market favorite Phoenix Pastificio [12.16.11]
Aaron Betesh, Blue Heron Farms [10.01.10]
Alex Hozven and Kevin Farley, Cultured Pickle Shop [07.09.10]
Ben Feldman: Farmers’ Market man [06.18.10]
Neighborhood revival: Kick-starting the Lorin District [04.27-10]

Berkeleyside publishes many articles every day. To see all our stories in chronological order, and read ones you may have missed, check out our All the News grid.

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  • Lhasa7

    I’m all for making things accessible, but as a middle-income person who finds a lot of the offerings at the Farmer’s Market well beyond my means, I am unclear how those in lower income brackets are going to be served here. My casual observation has been that the demography at the Farmer’s Markets is pretty well established.

  • Kamarie

    While I understand their reasons, I am *really* disappointed.  It was one of the few things that made me feel like my neighborhood– largely residential and without much of a community space– was a real community.  I wish they could have added a Farmer’s Market at the new location instead of removing this one.

  • Kevin Jude

     I am bummed about this, too.  Being 2 blocks from the Tuesday market has been one of the best parts about living in our neighborhood – both for the food and the camaraderie.  However, I hope this will be beneficial to the Lorin district, since I would definitely like more reasons to expand my orbit down there.

  • guest

    I suspect the new venue will be overrun, at times, as a result of  its very accessibility ( to commuters and others) and the prominence of its location. Parking,  most likely, will again be problematic. A location with aditional square footage  for the sum of the market and parking would have been preferable.

  • Knitoneone

    Love the idea of the market in that area. My business used to be a few doors from Sweet Adeline bakery, and the area will be bigger, the road surface smoother and it will be in the middle of an exsting business and residential area making for a very cozy market!

  • South Berkeley resident

    My family lives two blocks away.  We are thrilled.  Our community needs this. 

  • Completely_Serious

    B’Side, please publish the following press release related to the relocation of the Derby Farmers’ Market:

    Thursday, June 7, Berkeley, CA

    A group of concerned citizens announced today the formation of a coalition of do-gooders, KIMBYs*, nostalgaistas, and general nay-sayers, called BARF (Berkeleyans Against Relocation of Farmers’ markets).  The purpose of BARF is to sue the kale off the Ecology Center for disturbing the most beloved of all Berkeley institutions, the Derby Farmers’ Market.

    “It’s called the ‘Derby Farmers’ Market’ because it’s on Derby.  Duh!  If it moves to the Lorin District, it won’t be the Derby Farmer’s Market anymore,” said an anonymous BARFer who refused to be named for fear of reprisal.  The anonymous spokesbarfer promised that the group would sue to stop the relocation as soon as it can find a recent, unemployed, inexperienced Boalt Hall graduate who “wants to make a difference and get on the gravy train of suing Berkeley for just about anything.”

    Jack Hoff, a co-founder and executive vice president in charge of blockage for BARF, urged the Ecology Center to reconsider:  “The Derby location is perfect for the Farmers’ Market.  It provides all of the anti-everything-except-what-we-already-have-for-ourselves-and-property-rights-be-damned Berkeleyans with a fine, weekly reminder of one of the most successful community rehabilitation projects ever undertaken:  The beautiful, fully renovated, fully functional and always free People’s Iceland.”  Hoff continued:  “If the market moves to Lorin, community activists will have to find some other ‘landmark’ to protect, maybe the Black Repertory Theater, or that cardboard bum structure in the little triangle by the new Buslab.  That would be a lot of work.  Besides, the new Buslab might be in Oakland, we’re not sure if it’s Here or There.”


    *Keep It in My Back Yard

  • Akkizza

    That is hilarious. Well done.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    The members of PUKES (People United to Keep Everything the Same) stand queasily with BARF in this struggle.

  • Akkizza

    Being overrun due to accessibility is a very good problem to have, if you’re a farmer! The ideal location that you describe — that includes a lot of parking — is very hard to find in South Berkeley. 

  • Completely_Serious

    HURLER is organizing and will stand with us if this insane plan goes through!  (Help UnRelocate Lorin Edible Rendevous)

  • bgal4

    BARF and PUKES membership will expand when Farmers’ Market visitors encounter the piles of crap on Adeline left by one of regular street people.

    seriously, many of us are hoping the market’s move to this location will motivate the city to finally address some long ignored documented nuisance problems.

  • Meliflaw

    I don’t know about this, C_S. Have you elected a committee and subcommittees to explore the feasibility of BARF? Are you working through consensus? Have any meeting participants fallen asleep midway through a 45-minute diatribe at 11:15 on a weeknight? (Sure sign of a viable concept.)

    BARF just sounds too–new.

  • EBGuy

    They make it sound like this move is permanent.  Will the great compromise be for naught?

  • Completely_Serious

     We’re actually waiting for the very best endorsement one can hope for in Berkeley — being ignored by Kriss!

  • Completely_Serious

     We were hoping to get some airtime on KPFA, but there seems to be some sort of kerfuffle between the staff and management and the studio is blockaded.  Best I could tell, there was some disagreement whether they should be broadcasting more banjo ensemble music, which pissed off the dobro-centric staff, and the whole thing fell apart.  As soon as we wreck the farmers’ market, we’ll get over there and mess that up.  (It might take a long time, which is good.  Give us time to grow long, grey pony tails, and get our 2002s tuned up to pass smog.)

  • Greg

    Not at all.

    Remember, one of the most compelling arguments against the original baseball field was the use of Derby by Fire Station #5 when answering calls in the western portion of the district.

    Now, with the Ecology Center Farmer’s Market gone the city can re-authorize fires in southwest Berkeley on Tuesday evenings!

    Sorry.  While I’m sad to see the market leave, and thankful Derby will remain open, I couldn’t resist.  That particular argument just stuck in my craw, largely because it was somewhat compelling and probably should have precluded the use of Derby by the Ecology Center.

  • Akkizza

    When the Derby Street debate was happening a few years back, the EC looked at other places to locate the South Berkeley Farmers’ Market. The option to move to Adeline & 63rd was not open at that time.

  • deirdre

    I read your note while I was eating a mouthful of soup, which is now sprayed on my keyboard.  I shake my fist in your general direction, detestable HURLER!

  • Greg Merritt

    AWESOME!!! Welcome to my neighborhood. Nom nom nom….

  • Farmers Markets accept EBT (food stamp) cards and WIC vouchers so it is an excellent opportunity for low-income families in the neighborhood (my neighborhood, I live on the very block) to buy healthy food. This is a wonderful alternative to the corner stores. I welcome this move with open arms. I’ve shopped the Derby market for twenty years and understand the need for the move and couldn’t be more pleased to have it at my doorstep…I’ll just have to figure out what to do with my car on Tuesday.

  •  Haha! SWIPED from my Facebook page. Too funny. Yep, the serial crapper is an issue. I chased her off with a hose just last week. Then, I saw a pair of adult diapers covered in feces ripped apart and on the sidewalk just days later. Hopefully this issue will be dealt with soon. I’m thinking of contacting that Stanley Roberts People Behaving Badly dude about it.

  • Heather_W_62

    Well maybe the city will do something about this crap (pun intended) when sh**t lady starts doing her business on Farmer’s Market day. No reason why she won’t, she sure doesn’t seem to care who’s watching. 

  • serkes

    Will there be a venison vendor?

  • Stephanie Allan

    In Sarah Henry’s story on the
    farmers’ market move from Derby Street  the Ecology Center implies that the
    market is moving because the School District is building a
    regulation-sized baseball field at the site — “though the shift also comes because the Berkeley Unified School District
    will be converting the adjacent playing field at the markets’ current
    location into a regulation-size baseball field.” 

    is accurate is that the move is due to the Ecology Center’s business
    needs, not the field.  The District spent years, while the cost of the
    field doubled, working to find a compromise that would allow the
    farmers’ market unfettered access to Derby Street one afternoon a week (which the Ecology Center demanded)
    while providing adequate athletic facilities for the students at
    Berkeley High and B-Tech schools. 

    That compromise, known as Curvy
    Derby, is the design the District is building.  When District
    representatives met with the Ecology Center to plan the construction so
    the farmers’ market could remain open throughout, BUSD was informed the
    farmers’ market would be moving.  Too bad they didn’t say that 10 years ago when the field would have cost Berkeley taxpayers $1.5 million less than it will now and BHS/B-Tech students would have had the athletic facilities they so badly needed a decade ago.    Stephanie Allan, Friends of the Derby
    Street Park &

  • bgal4

    Wow, that is very interesting because the Ecology Center rep came to one of the south Berkeley neighborhood group meeting  to present the survey. The rep explained  the only reason they were moving was construction of the ball field.

  • bgal4

     That does not make sense, why would a parking strip not be available?

  • guest

     oh deer..

  • serkes

    We furry felines of the north … and founding members of RETCH (Residents Endlessly & Timelessly Complainants Harassing) hereby affirm our solidarity with BARF, PUKES and HURLER.

    This whole plan deserves a “hair ball” rating.

    Poudini & Baby T (called the Baby Terrorist for good reason)

    “There are those who look at things that never were, and ask why?  We dream of a plans made by others … and ask how quickly can we file a lawsuit to keep them from happening?”

    With apologies to GBS, JFK & RFK

  • EG

    The new location is clearly not as bike accessible and is across the unofficial border between Berkeley and the Ghet(to) – the passport ‘checkpoint’ should be setup at Alcatraz.

    The current location would have been a much better option to help create a community spot around the Ice Rink (once re-developed).

    The new location is stuck in a maze of that area’s traffic nightmare and will suffer from cars whizzing by and a loss of quiet desolation.

  • EG

    Maybe you can get the thugs who frequent the Stanford liquor store to come by and purchase Kale…not!

  • Bharati

    Will this finally finally make the city put a left turn light at the Alctraz/MLK intersection?  That is is just the most poorly designed left turn in South Berkeley.