Village market opening downtown

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The Third Avenue Village Market is now a reality, with its opening day on Sunday, May 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Park Way between Third and Fourth avenues. The Third Avenue Village Association partnered with San Diego Markets director Catt Fields White to bring this weekly event to downtown Chula Vista. Market director of the Third Avenue Village Market, White is a leader in the farmer’s market industry, said TAVA District Manager Dominic Li Mandri.

Since 2008, White helped develop San Diego’s largest farmer’s market, the Little Italy Mercato, and markets in Pacific Beach, North Park and other local communities. The Village Market will offer fresh produce, pastured eggs, freshly baked breads, sauces, flowers, and food items from more than 60 local farmers and vendors.

Li Mandri said TAVA is excited to partner with White who helped set up the market, lead it with vision, and expects the market to be one of the “crowned jewels” of its events programs of bringing the community and families back to Third Avenue.

“They can enjoy the great public spaces that we have, and the great restaurants, eateries, and breweries that we have on Third Avenue,” he said.

White said in managing markets in several other areas in the region, they are looking forward to coming to downtown Chula Vista.

“Taking in account all of the needs of the community and what we thought was best for the shoppers, and also the farmers and vendors, we have a wonderful site on Park Way,” she said. “It runs right along the edge of the park, giving us some additional space from the original site we had identified, which means we can expand and create a vibrant large Sunday market. Which is something we expect to happen over the next year or so and for many years to come.”

White said it will begin with around 50 to 60 farmers and vendors when it launches but expects to get to 80 to 90 over the course of time.

“The markets that we run tend to be farm focused,” she said. “I work with the California Alliance of Farmer’s Markets on its Steering Committee, and we are very focused on the fact that direct marketing laws in California were created so that farmers could benefit by selling directly to consumers. And consumers benefit by getting fresher food which taste better and developing relationships with those who produce those foods. We are excited to bring that kind of market to downtown Chula Vista and grow that with community input on what they would like to see.”

White said there will be many California based farmers, local food makers who make jam, granola, hummus, and all the things that you need when you go to the grocery store, in addition with fresh produce, eggs, fish and meat, and then prepared food so people can make “a day” there, pick up a kabob or tamale and head to the park with their family.

“Sundays are a great day for farmers markets. It is a good day for folks to grocery shop. And a good day to get out and enjoy the park while you are doing that,” she said. “We are kind of killing two birds with one stone here. See your neighbors. Get out with the kids. We expect it to be a good sized market.”

White said they are actively recruiting and selecting local farmers that are working in the Tijuana Valley and South Bay, but they do need to be a certified producer.

“We would love to see them out there,” she said. “Our organization also offers training, our new 101 class, and we pride ourselves in nurturing farmers that may not be aware of what the direct marketing laws entail so that we can bring new farmers from that area and get them into the direct marketing system and allow them to sell directly to consumers. There are some good farms and some great emerging farms in the South Bay. We are going to do a big push to provide them that education and nurture them into the farmer’s market. We really want to make it as local as possible.”

White said the process is easy. Those interested in becoming trained and part of the farmers market can visit sandiegomarkets.com, click on the Vendor Application, check Chula Vista, Sunday, May 8, on the short application.

“We will get them in,” she said. “We prioritize farmers, and we would love to hear from local food makers. We are ready to go to make sure that they get all the permits they need and be ready for that opening. Some of those folks may need to be walked through the permitting process, but we are really good at that. We have been holding a monthly class since 2010 that helps those folks wind their ways through the permits and be allowed to sell at farmer’s markets to consumers.”

Li Mandri said White is an expert in her field and that is why they were so keen on bringing her onboard.

“Seeing what she has demonstrated in building in other communities in San Diego, we think that Chula Vista was ripe for a farmer’s market to come to downtown. And there is no one better to achieve that vision than Catt White. We are extremely happy to have her onboard, and we are very excited about May 8.”

Village market opening downtown