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[whitespace] Vallco veggies on the way

City gives green thumb to farmers market

Cupertino--A nonprofit farmers market group won city approval last week to start holding Friday morning open-air markets in a parking lot at Vallco Fashion Park. The market is set to open May 26.

The application won unanimous approval last week from enthusiastic Planning Commissioners. The new market will operate once a week, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., through the end of October. Vendors will set up in a little-used parking lot in the northwest corner of Vallco, north of Macys and TGI Friday's.

"I'm really excited that you're coming, because we've always wanted to have a market and it's great that you found a location," said Commission Chair Andrea Harris.

The market replaces another Friday morning market that operated for eight years at the San Jose Town & Country shopping center. That market closed last fall when Town & Country's owners began a massive expansion and redevelopment project.

John Silver, operations director for Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association, says that market averaged about 2,000 customers every Friday. Now many of those customers are excited about having a new place to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables.

"We have a huge database and we receive an average of 20 calls a week from people wanting to know where that market's going to relocate," Silveira said. "We also have a lot of people from the Cupertino area."

Concord-based PCFMA runs 20 farmers markets in the Bay Area, half of which operate year-round. If the Cupertino market proves successful, Silveira said, the association will consider expanding it to Saturday and Sunday. This could happen next year at the earliest.

"There's no reason this market can't be the largest in Santa Clara County," Silveira said.

Silveira said he expects the new market bring out between 1,000 to 1,500 customers per day when it begins. About 40 farmers from around the region are expected to participate in the market, which could accommodate up to 70 sellers. Silveira says most of the farmers will be coming from the San Joaquin Valley. Others will come from as far away as Sebastapol and Castroville and as near as Sunnyvale.

In addition to the usual fruits and vegetables, flowers, nursery stock, honey, eggs and gourmet food products also will be for sale at the market.

PCFMA will partner with Vallco on the new market, and won't be paying rent to the shopping center.

In order to minimize disturbances to homes that back up to the market's location, commissioners stipulated as a condition for approval that no cooking, amplified entertainment, portable generators or refrigerated trucks be allowed at the site.

Planners said if the market does disturb neighbors, it shouldn't be hard to move the market to another spot in the parking lot. The city also required that the market provide portable bathrooms at the site and that all trash be hauled away from the site when the market ends.
Jeff Kearns


For more information on the farmers market, call 800.949.FARM, or check www.pcfma.com.

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Web extra to the May 18-24, 2000 issue of Metro.

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