Where will farmers’ market sprout up?
In less than one month, Truckee shoppers will once again have their pick of fresh produce brought to the area by local growers participating in the Tuesday morning farmers’ market in town.
But organizers still don’t know where in town that market will be located.
Representatives for the market and the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association hope to hold the market in the downtown parking lot between the Train Depot and fire station, as they did during the end of last year’s market season. However, they are worried that either the Town of Truckee or the Union Pacific
Railroad, which owns the parking lot, might stand in the way of that goal.
Run by the Foothill Farmers’ Market Association, which organizes 16 weekly markets throughout the greater Placer County area, Truckee’s Tuesday morning market has historically been located in the Truckee River Regional Park. But that location does not generate as much awareness or walk-in business as having the market in the heart of downtown, according to Market Manager Christina Abuelo.
“There’s an enormous attraction when you combine a farmers’ market with a historic commercial district because they kind of play off each other and you get these really vibrant farmers’ markets,” Abuelo said.
Jerry Wood, president of the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association, agreed.
“Clearly, the Merchants Association is very much in favor of a farmers’ market downtown,” Wood said. “One, it’s a tremendous benefit for downtown ” it’s tremendous exposure. And it’s also a benefit for the farmers’ market in that it is the area that draws the most traffic. So it’s a win-win for everybody, we just have to work with the town and figure out how to get around this problem with the lease.”
Currently, the parking lot in question is leased from the Union Pacific Railroad by the Merchants Association, but according to Wood, the merchants have been informed that the market will need a permit to set up in the space.
Working with the town planning department to get the necessary permit for the farmers’ market should be pretty straightforward, according to Dan Wilkins, Truckee’s Public Works director.
“I think what the folks who run the farmers’ market are trying to figure out is whether or not they can [hold the market in the parking lot]. And the first thing they need to figure out is whether or not the underlying land owner is going to let them do that ” that’s the railroad,” Wilkins said.
Union Pacific railroad spokesman John Bromley said that the railroad would probably agree to allow the farmers’ market to use the parking lot as part of a subletting agreement.
“I don’t think there’s going to be any big block to the idea,” he said.
Bromley said that the railroad’s real estate department has already sent the Downtown Merchants a subleasing agreement that should take care of the issue.
Railroad issues aside, Wilkins said the only other consideration the town would probably have is taking a look at the market’s effect on parking in the downtown area.
“I think the obvious issues that the town would need to consider would be: What are the potential impacts on other businesses related to parking? I think there are 40 spaces in that lot, and it has historically been providing parking for the downtown area. So if you take that parking supply out of the inventory Tuesday morning and then create a demand for 20 or 30 spaces, is that going to adversely effect the other businesses down there?”
Wood said the Merchants Association, at least, thinks a downtown market would benefit the businesses downtown, and he hopes the issue will be resolved in time for the market’s opening day, June 7.