Del Mar Farmers’ Market continues to flourish with new enhancements
By Marlena Medford
The Del Mar Farmers’ Market has long been a community staple for farm-to-fork fresh food and, after nearly 25 years, it has the distinction of being one of the oldest markets in the county. When this weekly open-air market launched in 1985, in fact, Vista was the only other city to offer a farmers’ market. Today, there are more than 50 farmers’ markets in the county, with new ones steadily opening.
Indeed, things have gotten more competitive since that first market day in 1985 and, as a result, the volunteer board that runs the Del Mar Farmers’ Market is working to make sure it stays strong for another 25 years. Based on customer feedback, they’ve added more international foods and prepared meals, which have proven to be a hit with customers on-the-go, and they’re finishing touches on a market logo and website, which will hopefully launch within the next few months.
“We want to focus on taking this market to its maximum potential,” said board member Nicole Holliday, adding that the group is also planning a 25th anniversary celebration for September. “The founders of this market had an incredible vision and we’re trying to continue to build on that.”
Those founders, a group of five women, also helped Del Mar Farmers’ Market gain its nonprofit status, something that is truly unique for farmers’ markets. To date, it has provided more than $200,000 to Del Mar community efforts. This year alone, it will give $10,000 back to the community via donations: to purchase a new waste bin for the city; toward funding for the new lifeguard station; to the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy; to the Del Mar Library; and to Del Mar Community Connections; and for funding scholarships for college students who work at the farmers’ market.
“We take a lot of pride in our nonprofit status, and we’re committed to the well-being of this community,” Holliday added. And in return, the community has stayed largely committed to the farmers’ market, as have many of the vendors. Case in point: the Del Mar Farmers’ Market scholarship fund is named in honor of Mary Maciel, one of the original longtime vendors. Today, Maciel’s daughter-in-law Estella can still be found at the market every Saturday, where she works as manager, the only paid staffer for the non-profit.
“Stories like that are neat, and they’re part of what make our market so special,” Holliday said. “This is a place you can come get berries picked that morning, and talk to the farmers who picked them. It’s a way for people to eat fresh quality food, support local farmers, chitchat with your neighbors, and support something that’s giving back to your community.”
The Del Mar Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday afternoon from 1 to 4 p.m. at 1050 Camino Del Mar, between 10th and 11th streets. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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