Friday Farmers Market gets County scrutiny

Sonoma County will call for proposals to operate the Friday Farmers Market, the first-ever screening of candidates to run the weekly event in the Depot Park parking lot.

The incumbent group is lead by market manager Hilda Swartz, the polarizing figure who presided over the Tuesday night Farmers Market for decades. Although chosen through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process for the 2010 season, her group did not participate in the RFP for the 2011 contract.

That was on city land. The Friday market takes place on county property, thus the different protocol.

The lot will be repaved in May, forcing a temporary relocation of the market to the grounds of the Veterans Building. The county hopes to make the management decision by the time the event moves back to its traditional space sometime in April.

Though Swartz continues to be a contentious figure, officials said the RFP was not aimed at current management but is rather a case of due diligence by the county.


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