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Farmers Market Issues Leaves Uncertain Future


The Yard Farmers & Ranchers Market will vacate the premises at The Yard, 5300 McCullough Ave., at some point in the near future. There are several reasons involved, including a dispute this past Sunday that reportedly escalated into racial overtones.

YardLogo Farmers MarketAlso, parking problems have been an issue at The Yard. Before moving to the McCullough location, the farmers market had been a Sunday fixture at the Alamo Quarry shopping center, but it was asked to leave a few months ago, reportedly due to parking issues there.

The owners of The Yard Farmers & Ranchers Market, F. David Lent and Heather Hunter, argued with the owners of Ming’s Things food stand, Ming Qian and Hinnark von Bargen.

Hunter characterized the argument as as heated words between people who had been friends and colleagues. It began when von Bargen and Qian announced they’d be moving their stand to the new Sunday farmers market at the Pearl Brewery, which opens this coming Sunday.

While The Yard Farmers & Ranchers Market has a 90-day option to stay at The Yard, that may or may not happen, according to Hunter.  The Lent/Hunter farmers market has been a successful operation for four years.

The following note was posted on Facebook by Lent and Hunter:

“To all of our loyal customers, market members and followers. This past week has been truly challenging for us as we continue the fight to bring locally grown foods and sustainability to the San Antonio community.

“An unfortunate exchange took place after last Sunday’s market, which we deeply regret. Although it was an isolated incident between long-time business associates and dear friends, the brief altercation has been exaggerated and manipulated in the media.

“From a personal and business disagreement, sadly, this has the potential to have negative impact on the market members who have had no part in this situation.

“We personally have many friends and associates from all ethnicities and wholeheartedly embrace cultural diversity. We lived in Mexico for over five years and have traveled extensively in many countries not as tourists, but as cultural travelers and very much respect the differences and celebrate our commonalities.

“We greatly appreciate all of the support we have received for the market in this difficult situation. As for the future of our farmers market, we are evaluating at this point and ask for your continued support and patience.”

Speaking on the matter Thursday, Hunter emphasized that though a number of vendors will be moving to the Pearl Farmers Market, they still have the “full support of 25 steadfast vendors.”

Hunter and Lent will be considering their options in the weeks and months to come and didn’t wish to discuss their eventual plans either way – to close up shop or stay with their commitment to bring healthy food, produce and products to San Antonio customers they’ve served for the past four years.

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The Yard Welcomes Farmers & Ranchers Market


A collection of colorful canopies, organic veggies, food and drink and best of all a good crowd welcomed the new Yard Farmers & Ranchers Market to their new location Sunday.

Yard crowd dogs croppedHeather Hunter and David Lent, founders of what just last week was called the Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market, were glad to have not missed a beat in the transition to the new location about 1.3 miles away in Olmos Park at The Yard, 5300 McCullough Ave.

Most of their vendors came along with them, setting up shop in a space behind the coffee shop, Olmos Perk.

“I didn’t even know these were back here,” said one woman, holding her child with one hand and her dog by the leash with the other, looking at the collection of shops and eateries at the back of the lot set in a series of boxcars.

A group of culinary students sampled sausage sandwiches and more from Ming’s Thing as they sat on nearby steps and La Panaderia had sold out of its tortas before noon.

The only blip in the smooth move came with some shoppers having trouble parking, said Hunter.

“But, we’re working on that and expect to have more space by next week,” she said.

Patricia Meier, left, discusses the new farmers market venue at Olmos Park with vendor Jon Badger.

Patricia Meier, left, discusses the new farmers market venue at The Yard with vendor Jon Badger.

In fact, at the nearby Shudde Ranch Beef booth, the chairwoman of the Olmos Park Planning and Zoning Commission, Patricia Meier, was discussing solutions with vendor Jon Badger. Having the farmers market at The Yard, she says, fits right into a larger picture of plans for the area.

“We are trying to make this area, along McCullough, become a go-to place, not a get-through place,” she said. She says already neighboring businesses along the street have offered parking at their businesses for the overflow.

She also pitched the idea that a shuttle might be a possibility, to bring shoppers parked down the street to the market and take them back to their cars.

Despite any initial issues, Badger was positive. “For opening day this is good,” he said.

The farmers market had been at the Alamo Quarry Shopping Center for more than 3 years, but they were abruptly asked to find a new home by the owners a few weeks ago. Hunter and Lent were showered with a number of good options to consider and at the time their goal was to make the move “without a hiccup.”

On Sunday, they were relieved that not only did that happen, but it happened in an area appears to want to support them.

“We’re really focused on making this viable,” said Meier.

Heather Hunter, co-founder of what is newly named The Yard Farmers and Ranchers Market sells her Cowgirl Granola at the market.

Heather Hunter, co-founder of what is newly named The Yard Farmers and Ranchers Market sells her Cowgirl Granola at the market.

 

Yard Culinary Students cropped

Culinary students take a break on the steps of one of the boxcar shops at The Yard Sunday.

 

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