In 2016, the Eagle Rock Farmer’s Market had seen better days. The once-great farmer’s market had gone through several vendor changes and location changes in the 20 or so years since its formation. By the end of last year, the whole ordeal had been whittled down to essentially three vendors, none of whom sold produce, and a very sparse attendance.
Eagle Rock resident Robynn Molino-Markus (her husband is Clarkliving agent Jeff Markus,) decided it was time for her neighborhood to have a proper farmer’s market, and she set out on a quest to make that happen. Robynn went to the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce with her proposal and gathered a handful of volunteers to help her with this grassroots campaign.
How do you advertise that a farmer’s market is under new “management”? How do you convince both the vendors and residents that it’ll be different this time? A lot of thought and planning went into a revitalization strategy that included sending school age children home with postcards advertising the new farmer’s market. The fact that heads of local schools allowed Molino-Markus and her volunteers to do that seems to have made a huge difference in the turnout. The biggest challenge, Molino-Markus says, is that everyone– the vendors, the volunteers, and the customers– just have to trust that one another will show up.
The grand opening went down on Friday, May 12th, and the street was full of shoppers before they even opened. The farmer’s market now hosts more than 20 vendors and that list is expected to grow. Every Friday from 5pm-8pm, on the corner of Colorado Blvd and Maywood, you’ll find copious amounts of fresh, organic produce, Filipino produce, dips, cheeses, and pita bread, fresh baked goods, dried fruit and nuts, tamales, pupusas, kettle corn, snow cones, cotton candy, Filipino BBQ, vegetable seedlings grown by Aldama Elementary school. There’s also a dedicated kids’ area hosted by rotating organizations like The Lab for Learning, the Tutor Doctor, and the Eagle Rock Children’s Library. Perhaps the most exciting and topical vendor for me personally is Dave (yes, as in Chillin & Grillin) serving up Eagle Rock’s favorite sandwiches and plenty of Dave’s Hotts Peppa Spread.