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Farmers’ Market Comes to the Castro
Wednesday Evening Event to Commence April 29
on Noe Street North of Market

JD Petras proudly displays a poster for the Castro Farmers’ Market set to begin at the end of April on Noe Street immediately adjacent to Café Flore which he owns. Petras was one of the key players involved in creating one of these popular markets in the neighborhood.

By Jaime San Felippo

The Castro and Upper Market Street area will be the newest San Francisco neighborhood to host a weekly farmers’ market. It will take place on Noe Street between 16th and Beaver streets on Wednesday evenings between 4 and 8 p.m., beginning April 29 and running through October.

The central location will provide space for local grower-producers to offer farm fresh produce and other food products. The plan to bring a farmers’ market to the Castro has been in the works for about a year and is a project taken up by the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro (MUMC) board and spearheaded by Café Flore owner, JD Petras. Petras and MUMC have been working with the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association (PCFMA), a non-profit based out of Concord that organizes neighborhood farmers’ markets through out the Bay Area.

According to Steve Adams, President of MUMC, the idea to hold the farmers’ market on Wednesday evenings was intended to target the residents returning home from a hard day at work. Adams also hopes the market will increase business in the area.

“We wanted to bring people into the neighborhood during the week,” said Adams. “We’re hoping to attract people from other neighborhoods and show them what the Castro has to offer.”
Adams also noted that the Wednesday market would complement Noe Valley’s weekly Saturday morning farmers’ market.

With the 35th anniversary of the opening of Café Flore approaching, Petras decided to get involved with the farmers’ market, a logical choice for him since he is very concerned about the quality of food he uses in his restaurant and attracting patrons to the area.

“The project’s goal is to bring awareness to this part of the Castro and to bring people in on a regular basis,” said Petras.

Elizabeth Howe is a regional manager with PCFMA and oversees all technical aspects of the San Francisco farmers’ markets. While attaining permits and community feedback regarding the Castro market, Howe said she did not run into any opposition, only excitement from residents.
“Everyone’s been really great,” said Howe.

Howe said the market will feature organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and honey among other items. In addition to providing fresh and healthy fair for local residents, her experience has been that farmers’ markets bring neighborhoods together.

“The markets really increase the community feel,” said Howe. “They provide a time and place for people to really get together and talk about health while creating a community atmosphere in which local merchants and organizations can get more exposure and really get involved in the neighborhood and community. The Castro is already a great place for this to happen.”

Rebecca Dunlap has managed Urban Bread on 18th Street since December and is excited for the farmers’ market to start. Urban Bread will be featured in the farmers’ market, having been highly recommended by the MUMC board. PCFMA chooses market participants based on certain requirements making sure the products offered are organic and locally made.

Like Adams, Dunlap hopes the new farmers market will give Urban Bread exposure and expand its client base. She said the market will be good for business in the Castro as well as bringing everyone together for a healthy and social event.

“I think it will be great,” said Dunlap, “But it’s a shame it hasn’t happened sooner. There needs to be a place where local residents can get fresh, locally grown, organic produce on a regular basis. This farmers’ market will definitely fix that.”