Manhattan Beach Farmers' Market Turns 9
Jul 13, 2015 11:03PM ● Published by Jeanne Fratello
The celebration will begin with an 11:00 a.m. ceremony, in which Waste Management will present the farmers' market and Mayor Mark Burton with a Certified Green Business Award. Activities throughout the day will include story time from Pages, a Bookstore and kids' projects from Grades of Green.
The Downtown Manhattan Beach Business and Professionals Association (DBPA) started the market nine years ago to create a community gathering place in which farm fresh and organic foods could be purchased on a weekly basis. The market began with 30 vendors and now has a total of 45 vendors. Fifteen of the original vendors are still with the market.
"Every week, rain or shine, the very loyal farmers drive from up to 3 hours away just to bring you their fresh produce. It is collaboration of the farmers, vendors, and exhibitors - along with the organization of the City of Manhattan Beach, the Market Manager, the DBPA, and Metlox plaza that make the market effortless for its visitors each week," said Kelly Stroman, executive director of the DBPA.
Stroman adds: "With a constant focus on serving the community, we work closely with all departments in the city and community groups to bring you an ever-evolving market that suits the community's needs."
Many longtime vendors say they like coming back to the farmers' market every week because of its small-town setting and cheerful customers.
Jim Bell, who works at the Schreiner's meat stand, says he enjoys working at the Manhattan Beach farmers' market because of the people. "I like the people who come to shop, and I like the people who work on the stands on either side of me," he says.
Manny Topete of J.R. Organics agrees: "The people are friendly, and everyone comes with a smile."
Blake Cibulskis of Kepner Farms adds that he appreciates the Manhattan Beach farmers' market customers because they are willing to take the time to learn about a product. That includes, for example, learning why products like his farm's free range, cage free, all natural eggs might cost more than the supermarket product. "People here are much more health conscious and they're looking for what's the best," he says.
In fact, a commitment to healthy living is a continuing theme of the farmers' market ongoing projects and partnerships. For example, it has partnered with the City of Manhattan Beach and its Employee Wellness Program to provide healthy lunch option. Once a month, city employees are encouraged to walk to the end of the MB Pier, do a few guided exercises (at which time they receive 3-5 carrot coins) then walk back up to the market and enjoy a healthy lunch.
The Farmers Market and the DBPA give back 10% of gross sales to the community. The market is an official business sponsor of Growing Great, Grades of Green, and the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation (MBEF).