Farmers’ market to hit Midtown this spring

Those of us Midtowners, used to trekking all the way to the Sunday farmers’ market beneath the freeway, will soon have a more convenient location to pick up fresh produce.

Announced Thursday via the Facebook page, the news of a Midtown farmers’ market spread quickly through the social media world. And the people behind the movement – at the Midtown Business Association – couldn’t be more pleased.

"Sometimes with things like this you have to rip off the band aid to get it started," said MBA Executive Director Elizabeth Studebaker. The foundation of the market is strong enough as far as its design, support from neighbors and businesses, and having a secure location, to spread the word, she said. "We thought, let’s just rip off the band aid and make an announcement – and we’re definitely feeling a lot of love today on Facebook."

To run Saturdays, from April through October, the market will be held in the parking lot next to the Sacramento Native American Health Center, on J Street between 20th and 21st streets. While there are still many details left to be ironed out, Studebaker is thrilled to help bring healthy, local produce options to Midtown.

When she started her job at the MBA in January 2012, Studebaker was surprised to learn there wasn’t farmer’s market in the heart of Midtown. While there are markets scattered throughout the city during the week, and the big market beneath the freeway on Sunday, Midtown was somehow missing out on the food fun.

"From my perspective as director, it’s really healthy in any district and community," she said. "It’s one of the most positive, healthy community gathering spaces, that helps people feel like it’s a neighborhood."

Studebaker was active in helping open a farmers market in San Diego prior to moving to Sacramento, and "found it was an incredible benefit to the community there."

While the excitement is certainly tangible – and for good reason – some of those details to get the market fully operational include hiring a market manager, and getting vendors on board.

The Midtown market will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

To get more involved – to become a sponsor or apply for the market manager position – contact the MBA.

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January 24, 2013 | 4:31 PM

Man, that’s great news. I hope they pick a weekend day.

January 24, 2013 | 4:49 PM

Whoops, I must have overlooked the day – it’s going to be held Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Article Author
January 29, 2013 | 11:16 AM

The day is in the story, only the hours of operation were missing. Good job. Another Saturday market began in Oak Park. It’s a sweet little market with hardly anyone from the ‘hood shopping there. The prices are extremely high. The more vendors you get, the better chance for prices to stay in check, yet fair.

January 24, 2013 | 6:34 PM

Great news for the grid!

January 29, 2013 | 9:19 AM

And great news for the City, as they’ll be able to collect parking meter (or ticket) revenues, since a good chunk of that area is metered & they run on Saturdays. BLEAH.

January 24, 2013 | 7:06 PM

ARTICHOKES!!!!!!!!!

January 24, 2013 | 7:13 PM

Another healthy choice for midtowners… walk the two miles max to the market under the freeway.

January 25, 2013 | 9:10 AM

hurray for Midtown Ready to help

January 25, 2013 | 10:39 AM

Glad to hear that we’re getting a farmer’s market in midtown, that’s awesome. Lots of folks would prefer to not own a car and it can be a pain to trek to 8th and S if you live on the other side of midtown.

January 25, 2013 | 11:20 AM

Thanks Midtown Business Association! This is a very welcome addition to our midtown community and should be a great success.

January 25, 2013 | 12:54 PM

Say this is good news! Finally the MBA is listening to the people and responding. Thank you Elizabeth Studebaker! I wish you were in charge when I had my business in Midtown instead of that NoSac do-nothing Kerth. As to RJ’s concerns…meh. I stopped going to the under- the- freeway Sunday market years ago because it was inconvenient, overcrowded, and because they didn’t offer enough organic options to make it worth my while. And I almost never go to any of the others because of their inconvenient times and/or locations. But I’ll certainly go to the Midtown farmer’s market, for sure. Probably would more so if it were on Sunday though and if they provide more organic vendors.

February 4, 2013 | 8:37 PM

Your comment about the MBA finally doing its job is so true! When I moved to midtown about five years ago I wondered what the MBA was supposed to be doing. Now that they fired the former Executive Director and brought in Liz Studebaker things are getting done. I have noticed more trash cans on the streets that are getting dumped on a regular basis. There is outreach to our neighborhood groups which is great. Midtown is fun and quirky. Now we need to get more street lights working in our neighborhoods. Hopefully the MBA can work with SMUD and City staff to “light up midtown.” Well lit streets means a safer and more secure place to work and live.

Really looking forward to the farmers market. Will there also be mobile food trucks? Would be great to be able to get fresh produce and also have something to eat.

January 25, 2013 | 2:10 PM

So now you can get a snack in the SNAHC parking lot, nice.

January 25, 2013 | 5:13 PM

Seems like this serves a different population. There are several central city farmers’ markets during the week, but they are generally held during the weekday and their primary customers are commuters who work nearby. They are all held on the western half of the central city, “Downtown” rather thann “Midtown.” The Sunday market is an institution in itself, a market like this won’t challenge the Southside farmer’s market in sheer mass and size. But for the residents of the eastern half of the central city, where most of the population lives, it’s an alternative they can walk to on a day off, vs. locations that are farther away and inaccessible unless your workplace is within a few blocks. I’d expect it to be heavily patronized by people who live in the central city–and neighborhoods like Alkali Flats/Mansion Flats, who don’t have a supermarket in their own neighborhood.

January 25, 2013 | 9:54 PM

Bike Parking! I sincerely hope it has nice bike parking unlike the Southside market where a chain linked fence is sometimes your only spot!

January 29, 2013 | 11:06 AM

This will provide some much wanted convenience to Midtown Residents. But Sacramento, as a whole, is still missing out, and here is why:

All of these markets, in some way, lack convenience and infrastructure to really make them shine. Most operate seasonally. Nearly all lack any real protection from the weather: This impacts the quality of the food, and the desire for people to attend (hang out under the freeway for an hour in mid winter, and you will get the idea) None have the infrastructure to allow perishable produce to be displayed to its full potential: The lack of refrigerated storage space restricts meat vendors to keeping their produce on ice in coolers for most of the year. Where else in the world do you buy meat without seeing it displayed first? … but don’t get me wrong, it didn’t stop me from purchasing a full sized pig from John Bledsoe a year or two back…

Sacramento consumers and local producers would probably benefit from a dedicated, full time farmers market (think the Ferry Building without the frou-frou)

In a perfect situation, it would have better protection form the weather so that it could operate year round. It would offer both dedicated refrigerated storage and display facilities for meat and fish vendors and areas for other vendors to set up their temporary stalls. It would open more than once a week…not every day, because farmers have to farm… but at least three or four days a week, and it would be centrally located with an area for parking….and of course bike racks.

There are a plethora of examples of these types of markets in countries where consumers did not become as disconnected with their food due to industrialization and mass production of the last 50 years. (My family have been shopping in one, for over 40 years) The upside, is that dedicated places such as these attract and grow a broader range of food offerings, because vendors can make it work by opening more frequently, which not only attracts more customers, but allows existing customers to shop there more often. This in turn, drives and supports innovation and creativity for small and artisan producers.

Sacramento has access to some of the best, freshest and affordable produce in the world. It is time to take the next step, so that this can all be displayed and enjoyed to its full potential.

February 3, 2013 | 8:47 PM

Protected from weather, refrigerated storage and display facilities, meat and fish, open every day…sounds pretty much like a supermarket!

February 4, 2013 | 10:06 AM

Actually it sounds more like a public market. But I can see how people who haven’t been exposed to those types of markets would make that mistake. I agree that we could use a more permanent farmer’s market. Of course, we’d be following behind Fresno and Davis.

March 27, 2013 | 10:56 AM

William Burg, I think you misunderstand me:

A public market, provides a venue for multiple vendors to offer their products. Some good examples of those include Les Halles – pre 1960, QVM, or the Tsukiji Market. A Supermarket is an outlet for one single vendor who defines the product offering. What is offered at a public market is defined by public demand and the creativity and ingenuity of (typically local) vendors. In my experience (I have shopped at about a dozen of them in France and Australia) they can offer a broader range of specialty, and higher quality products, because they can financially support small producers whose production focus is narrow and is based on quality.

Also, the whole supply chain that supports a super market is substantially different to a public market. Typically, produce for a supermarket travels from a farm, through a packing facility, is then transported to a distribution centre and then to a supermarket. It may sit in the supermarket for a day or two until it hits the shelves and due to the number of facings a supermarket has, (because consumers love the image of abundance) and the length of time items sit on the shelves, much of the inventory is days old.

In a public market, the farmers picks his produce, loads it on to a truck, and sells it the next day in the market. If one week his peaches aren’t sweet and juicy you can tell him about it and ask him to lift his game – or go to another vendor.

And Mark, as for the rather attractive Davis farmers market, which lacks walls: Go there on a windy or cold day, but take a friend or you might be very lonely.

April 5, 2013 | 12:18 PM

The thing that worries me is that the picture in the article is very clearly not of a northern hemisphere Farmers’ Market (mangos). Will vendors have to grow or make what they sell, or will it allow intermediaries?

January 25, 2013 | 10:37 AM

So negative. The last time I checked we have way more small farmers in the area than we have spaces in most farmer’s markets in Sac.

January 25, 2013 | 10:39 AM

If not, then it won’t succeed. I don’t see a problem here. If there are two restaurants, would you be upset with a third opening? Think of the chefs?

January 25, 2013 | 11:21 AM

Very interesting facet of the discussion.

January 25, 2013 | 12:54 PM

As a Midtown resident who previously lived next to a farmers’ market and went every week, I can confirm that 0 of my dollars are currently going to Sacramento markets due to location and laziness. I would love one that’s within walking distance.

January 29, 2013 | 2:11 PM

Richard – that was purely an analogy. Obviously the two businesses are different.

I suppose you haven’t read any Adam Smith lately.

February 3, 2013 | 8:59 AM

How about making a big farmers market down Capitol mall, where you can take advantage of the space and have the bridge as a focal point on one end, and the Capitol and its park on the other. The idea of the Sunday market being under the freeway has always struck me as odd – it’s ugly there and full of car exhaust from the freeway. It’s not quite the same but in a way it reminds me of people who jog down a busy road, which commons sense would tell you by sucking in all the road exhaust you’re doing more harm than good.

February 3, 2013 | 8:46 PM

There is a Farmer’s Market on Capitol Mall between 5th and 6th Street, on Thursdays from May-September. The Highway 50 location has a lot of advantages vs. Capitol Mall: Nobody lives on Capitol Mall, so there isn’t much of a neighborhood, while the W/X location is located close to two large Sacramento neighborhoods. Being under the freeway provides some limited protection from rain or sun. It’s right next to a big city park and is accessible conveniently from the freeway. The big parking lot area is easier to park trucks on and set up tents. And traffic on Sundays is usually pretty light, so there isn’t all that much exhaust, at least not as much as during rush hour on a weekday.

People jog down a busy road because, perhaps, it’s well-lit and there are people. Besides, in either case, the pollutants from car exhaust travel a long way.

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