DEL MAR — Local farmer Louis Diaz arranges bowls of ripe tangerines, grapefruit, avocados and other produce to sell under his tent at the Del Mar Farmers Market. This is the last Saturday he’s setting up at the Del Mar Shores Park, the market’s temporary home of two years. On July 7, they will move to the new Del Mar Civic Center, a change that Diaz is excited to make.
“I think we’re going to do much better up there, because it’s more visible from the main street,” Diaz said.
The nonprofit Del Mar Farmers Market operated out of the Del Mar City Hall on Camino Del Mar since its official beginning in 1986. In 2016, the city began the last leg of its nearly $18 million project to transform the outdated City Hall into the brand new Civic Center.
The construction moved the Farmers Market to the Del Mar Shores Park on 9th Street and Camino Del Mar, a spot that the market’s volunteer board President Leslie Robson said was difficult for passersby to find.
“People didn’t come, so we lost some vendors, which was painful,” Robson said.
At the Civic Center, the Farmers Market will be visible right from Camino Del Mar. It will use the upper and lower levels of the new center, with a medium-sized green turf lawn, spaces for tables and chairs, plenty of free parking and a gorgeous ocean view. Robson said she hopes the increased visibility coupled with their marketing efforts will bring in more customers.
“If the shoppers don’t come the vendors don’t stay,” Robson said. “It’s really important for the people in the community to come and support them.”
Maggie Jones, an admin with the Del Mar Community Services Department, said the city worked closely with the market to develop the space to their needs and comply with safety regulations. When they designed the spot, they did so with the market in mind.
“It was really working together in a partnership just to make sure that we were able to bring their vision for their market to this space,” Jones said.
Jean Friedman, a resident of Del Mar for more than 40 years, always saw the Farmers Market at the old City Hall as a place to catch up with her community. When the market moved, Friedman noticed that less of her neighbors were attending. She said she hopes the return to the Civic Center will bring back that social experience.
“If it’s centrally located and the people can walk to it easily, I think they’ll get more people,” Friedman said. “Then you want to come to run into people.”
As the regulars trickle back with the location change, the board also plans to expand the market and reach new audiences. Robson said they want to bring in coffee and beer vendors and hold fitness or yoga classes on the turf.
“We’re trying to mix it up a little bit and not be so old-school farmers market,” Robson joked. “We want to retain that of course, but we’re trying to offer more things.”
The longtime vendors are also eager to stick around and watch the Del Mar Farmers Market grow. Diaz said this market is one of his favorites — he isn’t leaving anytime soon.
“I started doing this one 15 years ago, and I’m still here,” Diaz said. “I’ll be here as long as I can.”
The Del Mar Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. at its new location, the Del Mar Civic Center, on 1050 Camino Del Mar. For more information, visit their website, www.delmarfarmersmarket.org.