Vegetables from farmers market

Still photo from the Occidental Community Farmers Market GoFundMe video.

Successful GoFundMe paves the way for the opening of the market

Thanks to a massive community effort, the new Occidental Community Farmers’ Market (OCFM) will open this Friday, June 7, from 4 p.m. to dusk, and continue every Friday through Oct. 25.

Past favorites like Lata’s Indian Cuisine, The Green Grocer, Singing Frogs Farm and Confluence Farms will be present along with new vendors in an exciting restructured layout with a dining area. Local resident Evelyn Negri has graciously offered her lot adjacent to the market for use as a park area with bathroom facilities. All safety concerns as well as parking amelioration are being addressed; market patrons are also encouraged to carpool and use designated parking.

Launch of new market unites town

The effort to reopen the OCFM for the 2019 season, just weeks after being declared defunct by prior management, has pulled area residents and business owners closer together. Many have volunteered time and resources to get the market off the ground, with local businesses becoming select sponsors of the market. Barley & Hops, Hand Goods, Howard’s Station Café, Martin Ray Winery, Open Door Insurance Services, Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary and Redwood Needle Acupuncture are already on board.

“The intention of the Occidental Community Farmers’ Market is to increase prosperity for the whole community by including the town business community and staying open and responsive to all concerns and input,” said Michael Stusser, president of the current board.

A fundraising campaign (gofundme.com/revivetheoccidentalfarmersmarket) has so far raised over $14,000 of a $20,000 goal in only three weeks to fund start-up costs. Expressing a widely held sentiment, long-time customer of the previous market, Stacy Lippincott, wrote on the campaign site, “This market is crucial for our community and is interwoven into the fabric of our west county culture.”

Andy Henderson, co-owner of Confluence Farm, a vendor at the Occidental market and a member of the OCFM board is glad to have the market back.

 “The market has been a mainstay of Occidental for almost two decades and is very important to west county farmers. Many, including myself, got their market start here. There are also many farmers at this market for whom this is their only market. The OCFM’s success directly correlates to the viability and success of many West County farms,” Henderson said.

Occidental resident Kim LaVere is the newly hired market manager for the farmers' market.

"Farmers markets have been such a source of healing and inspiration for me personally, and there’s just something so special about our market here in Occidental and the community supporting it," she said. "I am so proud to be a part of this amazing team creating the market’s next rendition, one where we aim to better support our local businesses, create more unique offerings, and increase market attendance to better support our farmers, crafters, chefs and artisans. We are extremely excited about what’s in store for this season and for the future.”

— Occidental Community Farmers’ Market

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