Quarry Evicting Sunday Farmers Market

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A busy day at the Quarry Farmers &Ranchers Market. Photo courtesy of Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/quarryfarmersmarket

A busy day at the Quarry Farmers &Ranchers Market. Photo courtesy of Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/quarryfarmersmarket

The last Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market will be held Sunday, Dec. 7, after the owner of Alamo Quarry Market shopping center issued notification it is terminating its license agreement.

San Diego-based American Assets Trust, the shopping center’s owner, sent the surprise notice to Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market co-owners Heather Hunter and F. David Lent, who now say they will search for a new venue.

“The outpouring of support we have received in calls, texts, emails, messages and in social media is incredibly humbling. We are so thankful to have such passionate and vocal supporters. We are honored that we have served and will continue to serve such an appreciative community,” stated Hunter in a release Friday morning. “We ask the citizens of San Antonio to help us find a new home and to continue to show your support by joining us every Sunday.”

A letter from Senior Vice President of Real Estate Operations Patrick Kinney cited traffic and parking issues – which are likely to increase during the holiday season – as cause for the closure.

“During our preparation for the 2014 holiday season, we much received (sic) feedback regarding traffic and parking issues that arise during the holiday season,” the letter read. “After much discussion, we have decided it has become necessary to reestablish the Sunday parking availability to our tenants and their customers … ”

The letter came as a surprise to Hunter and Lent, who have been operating the farmers market for 3 1/2 years.

Vegetables at a farmers market. Photo by Tom Trevino.

Vegetables at a local farmers market. Photo by Tom Trevino.

“We pay our rent on time and in full and are excellent leasees and neighbors…despite requests for information and a willingness to work with the center on this issue, we have been asked to leave,” Lent stated. “We were particularly surprised at this turn of events in light of the fact that they approved our request for expansion — of almost double our size — and encouraged us to add more vendors two months ago at the end of September. We are most concerned about our farmers and ranchers and their possible loss of income only a few weeks before Christmas. All of our members count on the market to feed their families and run their farms and ranches.”

The popular farmers market brings shoppers to the parking lot near Whole Foods Market at 255 E. Basse Rd. every Sunday –anywhere from 2,500 to 4,000 people, according to Hunter. Rain or shine, nearly 40 local and regional farmers, ranchers and artisan food producers sell fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy products at the Quarry from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A full list of vendors is available here which includes 3G Farm, Brazos Valley Cheese, Hudspeth River Ranch, La PanaderiaMing’s Things, Shrub Drinks, and more.

Chef Michael Sohocki of Restaurant Gwendolyn, who takes pride in using locally sourced ingredients, spoke fondly of his booth at the Quarry and was troubled to hear of the closure.

“The Farmers Market closure strikes a blow against local farmers, ranchers, and (those) supporting local agriculture,” he said. “Markets like this are the only sure way to get (producers) out from under the control of multinational corporations and (consumers out) of a food chain that produces old food from far away and that has nothing to do with our land or our people.”

Sohocki now regularly sets up shop each Saturday at the city’s biggest open marker for locally-sourced food, the Pearl Farmers Market, but thinks there could be an even more permanent market someday.

“I wish that someone would open a grocery store that only sold things from local farmers, ranchers, bakers, artisan producers,” he said. “A small outlet for that kind of thing – I think it’s possible … if carefully placed.”

Michael Sohocki stocking up for a week of dinner service at the Pearl Farmers Market. Photo courtesy of Facebook. /www.facebook.com/RestaurantGwendolyn

Michael Sohocki stocking up for a week of dinner service at the Pearl Farmers Market. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Vendors and market owners aren’t the only ones surprised by the closure – some market customers are equally concerned.

“I would think the tenants in the Quarry would be overjoyed to have such a successful community market.   I am so surprised and saddened by this decision,” said Cynthia Franklin. “My family is at the market every week and we always shop after visiting the market. I love the sense of community and how the market transforms that space into a walkable shopping area.”

Beyond a source of food outside of traditional grocery stores, the Farmers Market also provided a healthy activity.

“This closure is truly baffling, especially in a town with a huge (literally) issue with sedentary lifestyle and poor food choices leading to an epidemic of obesity. No wonder SA is one of the fattest cities in the U.S.,” stated Alamo Heights resident Jennifer Lawlace in an email. “Forward thinking people and ventures supporting community projects that promote both physical activity and fresh foods are nixed in the name of what – more parking?  Incomprehensible.”

Customer Roxanna Newsom echoed the sentiment of neighbors that believe there must be some sort of compromise possible.

“My children and I love the market. We buy produce, meat, cheese, crepes, and my nephew’s tasty treats. I have not noticed the parking/safety issues but imagine there is a solution,” she stated in an email. “What about changing the hours of operation and perhaps closing the Farmers Market a bit earlier  – or opening 30 minutes earlier?  Is there a different spot at The Quarry that could be used?”

Some question the decision from a business point of view – the Farmers Markets could have been seen as an added amenity to the shopping center.

“Given the diverse demographic the Quarry serves, it has surprised me how quickly the market has become a community mixer where local friends visit in a setting that the vastness of the Quarry does not otherwise provide,” Tim Swan. “Realizing the potential community draw and resulting goodwill, I suspect that most commercial real estate folks I know would have incorporated such an amenity in the original development plan, let alone discourage it if by good fortune they chanced into it.”

Kinney and American Assets Trusts were not immediately available for comment on Friday.

*Featured/top image: A busy day at the Quarry Farmers &Ranchers Market. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

This story was originally published on Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. 

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Pearl Farmers Market Celebrates Five Successful Years

LocalSprout: Inside an Urban Farm on San Antonio’s Eastside

Main Plaza Welcomes Back Farmers Market

Truckin’ Tomato: Bringing the Farmer’s Market to You

The Feed: Two Guys Aim for Downtown Grocery Stores

80 thoughts on “Quarry Evicting Sunday Farmers Market

  1. Visit the Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market page for phone numbers and email addresses to make your voice heard to the management responsible. I won’t be shopping at the Quarry if they don’t change this decision.

  2. Thank you for the article. I agree with the suggestions of closing the market earlier or moving it to a less busy area of the Quarry. I am a resident in the area and many Sundays have walked across the street and eaten breakfast/lunch there. To me, this was the most unique amenity that the Quarry offered. It gave me the feeling that I lived in a true community, and was such a fun place to congregate and try new foods. So I am saddened by this and will miss some of the vendors that I got to know. I wonder if Whole Foods played a part in this closure.

  3. Unbelievable! I’m going to boycott all Quarry stores if this doesn’t change. Plenty of other places to shop!

  4. Please look into UTSA parking lot as said below. This lovely market would be such an asset to the NW SA region.

  5. Visit Collins Garden Park Farmers’ Market until that market find a new home! We need the support as we are just growing!

  6. I’ve always wondered why the city doesn’t take advantage of the ground-swell of support for locally owned, fresh produce, meats, breads, honey and other items but returning Market Square into the true market it once was?

    As it is now, it’s a disappointing stroll thru cheesy booths with tourist trinkets. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for local artisans to offer a true taste of South Texas in an historic setting?

    Market Square has parking available, it is in a central location and, the city keeps trying to get more San Antonia citizens downtown and particularly to the WESTSIDE of downtown. Well, here’s an opportunity.

  7. Other than the Farmer’s Market, I don’t have a reason to visit the Quarry. There are better theaters, better shopping experiences, and more affordable “health food” grocery stores around the city. Wherever you relocate, I will follow and the Quarry will be nothing but a memory for me.

  8. “Amor y Arte” at the historic downtown Travis Park would welcome you with great big arms! We are already an established monthly handmade artisans market and support the local bike community with a monthly nightime Glow Roll. The market and its downtown residents would greatly benefit from the farmers relocating to our home venue and join forces the same day every month 🙂 SA Made by Hand Mercado’s motto is Shop Local. Eat Local. Support Local.

  9. I can’t believe the Quarry couldn’t find a place for the Farmer’s Market if they wanted to. There’s just not that much retail going on Sunday morning, even during the holidays. Wondering if Whole Foods is bringing some pressure, tho it would seem the two would compliment each other. Boycott time.

  10. Dont worry guys. We will have a place for them once the eviction takes place and its just up the street a few miles. As a vendor there i can say ,even with our expected loss of sales that occurs with bringing in new vendors, I am happy to say that we as farmers will not let them go with out a spot. It is to close to the holidays to toss these awesome farmers, ranchers and artisans out of a market. We have a space for you at an established market just a few miles north on 281 and 1604 at the Legacy, You do have a home if you so choose. God bless you

  11. Thank you Farmer Anthony! That’s exactly what I’ve been saying! I have posted twice on Quarry Farmers Market FB about that same idea, to merge with the Legacy! That would make it a nice big Farmers Market for the Northside. Great idea!
    Quarry was too close to Pearl.

  12. I drive by several shopping centers with the same stores to visit the FM then I run my errands IN the Quarry shops, this is a horrible idea.

  13. Pretty simple solution here… let American Asset Trust know that you will not spend a dime in the Quarry until the Farmers and Ranchers Market is restored!

    11455 El Camino Real #200
    San Diego, CA 92130
    Phone: (858) 350-2600
    Fax: (858) 350-2620

  14. I think the parking is just an excuse. I go every week and there is plenty of parking. Aside from which the stores don’t even open until noon, except whole foods, which clearly benefits from the market. There’s something else going on here.

  15. How sad. It is a tradition for many on Sunday morning. That is the only reason I go there. The awesome experience they have created, the great vendors, the music, the unique food, the people and yes, the dogs.
    Traffic? Parking problems?
    Sunday?
    No establishment except the grocery store open until Noon and the market opens at 9 am and wraps up at 1 pm.
    We will follow you guys where ever you go!

  16. For all of you who say that this will ruin the quarry are on some really good organic drugs or something. Quit kidding yourself. The shopping center will continue to be very busy all through the holidays. The couple who runs the market are arrogant morons who are more concerned with how they look in Alamo heights than offering the products. Im willing to bet its their fault it got kicked out. They are truly a piece of work. It was a business decision on the part of the quarry so get over it. I’m sure there will be a place for you the next weeked. Lay off them for having an opinion on how they wish to run their business.

  17. For all of you who say that this will ruin the quarry are on some really good organic drugs or something. Quit kidding yourself. The shopping center will continue to be very busy all through the holidays. The couple who runs the market are arrogant morons who are more concerned with how they look in Alamo heights than offering the products. Im willing to bet its their fault it got kicked out. They are truly a piece of work. It was a business decision on the part of the quarry so get over it. I’m sure there will be a place for you the next weeked. Lay off them for having an opinion on how they wish to run their business.

  18. Corporate Office:11455 El Camino Real #200
    San Diego, CA 92130
    Phone: (858) 350-2600
    Fax: (858) 350-2620

  19. This is my letter to the property management
    Patrick.Kinney@americanassets.com
    Dear Mr. Kinney,
    I respect your right to terminate your agreement with the Farmers Market, however, I do not agree with your reasoning. The Farmers Market does not take up enough of the parking lot to justify using that as an excuse to terminate the agreement. The parking lot does not get full enough on any Sunday, even during the holidays, to be a nuisance to Quarry shoppers.
    Should you proceed with this action, I will not shop at any of your stores in the Quarry, to include Whole Foods, which I shop at every time I visit the Farmers Market as well as other days.
    I sincerely hope you reconsider.

    Cheers,
    Angela Perez

  20. UTSA wouldn’t do it because they’re nazis about only parking in their lots if you have a parking permit. I don’t think they would have a change in philosophy for a day every week, although an institution of higher learning would be a great place for supporting local, non-corporate economic business growth.

  21. This past Sunday, I mentioned the market closing to one of the check-out clerks at Whole Foods. She looked at me sheepishly and said, “I heard that too.” I get the impression that WF has given marching orders to its staff not to discuss the controversy. As others have said, there is more to the story than parking and traffic worries.

  22. Just speculating here, but wouldn’t the farmer’s market compete with Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s? I wonder if they put pressure on the management company? If I’m buying at the farmer’s market, I’m not buying produce and other items at WF, meaning less sales for them.

    “The popular farmers market brings shoppers to the parking lot near Whole Foods Market at 255 E. Basse Rd. every Sunday”

    • @Ryan Kelly. I agree with you completely. I doubt very sincerely that it is about parking AT ALL. Look to the owner of Whole Foods. I imagine the bottom line at WF has dipped a bit and that is not good for the owner – Nelson Wolf. He has the clout to make most things happen and when the Farmer’s Market took a bite out of his sales he may have decided to correct it.

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