The farmers’ market moves to Lorin district

Shoppers at the Tuesday Farmers’ Market. Photo: Nancy Rubin

The Tuesday Berkeley Farmers’ Market moved to its new location at Adeline and 63rd Street in the Lorin District yesterday and the new spot drew the market’s biggest crowd of the year, according to Ben Feldman, the market manager for the Ecology Center.

While 2,000 to 2,500 people generally come to the Tuesday market during the summer months, hourly counts on July 10 indicated that numbers were higher than that, he said. And the crowd appeared more ethnically diverse, too.

“Our customer counts indicated that this was the busiest market all year,” said Feldman. “It certainly seemed that our turnout for the market yesterday was a more diverse crowd. We had a lot of new faces that our vendors didn’t recognize. We had a lot of our old standbys, too, like people from restaurants.” 

The Ecology Center, which ran the market at Derby Street and MLK for 25 years, made the move to the Lorin district to increase the availability of fresh food to areas that lack a major grocery store. The new location is right on the border between Berkeley and Oakland.

The Ecology Center did extensive outreach to both Berkeley and Oakland to tell people about the market’s new location, said Feldman.

Nancy Rubin captured these moments at the market.

Shopping at the market. Photo: Nancy Rubin

Tasting at the Farmers Market. Photo: Nancy Rubin

Summer flowers. Photo: Nancy Rubin

Summer fruit at the market. Photo: Nancy Rubin

Fresh basil. Photo: Nancy Rubin

A child talks to a vendor at the market. Photo: Nancy Rubin

A child enjoys a fresh strawberry at the newly located Farmers Market. Photo: Nancy Rubin

Berkeley Tuesday farmers’ market moving to Lorin District [6.07.12]

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  • Chris

    Nice story – I hope the intended results keep holding up!

  • Nhumiller

    Good move to a neighborhood that needs a farmer’s market.  However, the prices are rather
    high, especially for people on food stamps.  I wonder if there’s a way that the government
    could subsidize farmers’ markets instead of big banks so that people can have access to
    fresh food without sticker shock prices. 

  • Cynthia Papermaster

    I’m so glad the market made this move to a neighborhood lacking in fresh, organic produce choices. Hopefully there will be continued interest. I too think prices are way high at the farmers’ markets, and feel that this is a real barrier to most people.

  • Grant

    The Ecology center fought against closing Derby Street to build a larger park with more fields for Berkeley High students for 15 years. They insisted that Farmers Markets that move don’t make it. It’s good to see construction on the expanded park starting up and the Farmers Market doing well and in a better location. They were in a tough spot competing with nearby Berkeley Bowl on Derby Street. It will be interesting to see if they move back, after construction of Moellering Field is finished since the park was basically redesigned around the Farmers Market.

  • Andy

    Hear, hear, Grant!  What a bunch of hypocrits the Farmers Market people are.  They fought tooth and nail against the recreational opportunities to be offered by Moellering Field, claiming at City Council meetings that if they had to move their operation 100 feet, or shut down for even one week, that their whole business would come crashing down.  As a result, Moellering Field was completely re-designed, at great expense to all of us, to accomodate the Farmers Market’s concerns.  Now they go and move cross town anyway! 

  • The Price is Right

    Can anyone explain why organic produce at the Berkeley Bowl is generally cheaper than organic produce at farmers markets with the *middle man* cut out?

    Maybe because the small farms have to spend their week shuttling to farmers markets and staff their own booths?

  • Guest

    Couple reasons:

    1) Farmer’s Markets command a premium based on perception. “Local” food has the perception of being higher in quality, better for the environment, and advantageous to local economies. Plus, it’s a fun activity, so I think the experience is something that certain folks are willing to pay more for.

    2) The farms that supply Berkeley Bowl and other grocery stores don’t necessarily operate at the same scale as the farms that supply the farmer’s market. I’m not too familiar with the farms that supply the Bowl, but I’m guessing the smallest of them are probably on the scale of Capay Organics, one of the largest farms that I think you’ll find at the farmer’s market.

    I’m a big supporter of farmer’s markets and CSA programs; I think they’ve allowed a different type of farm to thrive over the last decade, but ultimately they’ve succeeded by taking what was previously a faceless commodity (food) and differentiating it. Yes, their production methods are more expensive and they typically don’t benefit from established lobbies (and the attendant subsidies, regulatory breaks, etc.), but I think the difference in price is primarily a marketing ploy to help compensate for these disadvantages and run an (environmentally and economically) sustainable business.

  • Guest

    Is this neighborhood really lacking in fresh food? Berkeley Bowl is right down the street. 

  • EBGuy

     One thing I’ve learned from previous comments on BS is that an open Derby plan allows the fire station to have better access to points west of Shattuck. I’m not defending Ecology Center, but just pointing out other concerns (that perhaps should have been a higher priority than even the market).  Also, the Lorin district had street improvements done in the past decade.  Not sure if those improvements allowed the market to be hosted where it is currently now located.  At any rate, that would have been an issue 15 years ago, but not more recently when the Curvy Derby compromise was reached.

  • Grant

    That was never a real issue. It was some of the misinformation that was flying around. In the original plan, there was a route for emergency vehicles that went south of where Derby is and was signed off on by the Berkeley Fire and Police Department. I believe Ecology Center never wanted to be in the dedicated space designed for the Farmers Market in the original design and become tenants of BUSD because of the increased costs vs being on a public street.

  • Guest

    Organic food grown and shipped in from Mexico is cheaper.  Large scale organic farms have more product but fewer varieties.  I personally know a couple of the farmers too … growing quality food is not cheap and I’d rather support the smaller farms than the bigger ones.

    I think shipping food in from other countries kind of defeats at least part of the purpose of going organic. The food still has to be picked before it’s ready to be harvested to make sure it doesn’t spoil in transit and organic standards in other countries aren’t the same as California. 

  • Nhumiller

    The Oakland Farmer’s Market on Friday in Old Oakland is way cheaper than the
    ones in Berkeley — with delicious fruits and vegetables.   Many of the farmers/
    sellers come from the valley quite far away to cater to the many Asian consumers
    with produce that’s both exotic and fresh. Are the markets run by the same organizations?

  • sky

    I know several people on food stamps who shop at the Farmer’s Mkt… you just have to search out the good deals.

  • sky

    also, Mexico has different standards for organic produce.

  • Allston Wayer

    I walk past “Moellering Field” several times each week, and at least twice on the weekend. I have never seen it in use. Seriously.

    Did they really need all of the fencing? Good lord, it has an aesthetic appeal similar to the perimeter of any penitentiary/correctional facility.

    Notta Fan of Moellering Field