This spring, a group of 25 vendors--including Purple Sage Farms, Homestead Natural Foods, Rice Family Farms and H&H Farms--won't set up shop at the Capital City Public Market.
These vendors will part ways with the long-running CCPM to participate in a competing market, the Boise Farmers Market, which began organizing in October. According to Acting President Janie Burns of Meadowlark Farm, the market plans for a Saturday, April 6, opening.
"It became apparent that our efforts to work within the structure of the Capital City Public Market were not going to work out, and the market seemed to be going in a different direction and against our business interests," said Burns.
Burns said the Boise Farmers Market plans to focus on locally sourced produce and food. Participating vendors felt CCPM has moved toward becoming an art market, she said, and that many of their customers weren't coming to the market to avoid the large crowds.
"Many other cities have markets that have split into farmers markets and arts markets," said Burns. "We've heard for many years that people aren't coming to the market. It's too busy, it's too crowded, and they can't get the food they want in an easy way."
The Boise Farmers Market will also pursue a year-round indoor venue. Karen Ellis--founder and former manager of the CCPM who was fired in September 2012 after the board made allegations of poor business practices--will serve as the market manager for the new Boise Farmers Market. Lee Rice of Rice Family Farms said it was a misconception that the new market had formed because of Ellis' dismissal.
"This thing was in the wind; it started about a year ago, and actually, the group formed and started talking about having another market before that happened," Rice said.
"[Ellis] has a long history of successful markets and we're thrilled to have her help," said Burns. "The rest of us sell at markets; we don't really know how to put one together."
Currently, the Boise Farmers Market is looking for a downtown location, public or private.
Rice said some farms will likely stay with the CCPM, and that splitting the two markets might alleviate the issue of large crowds and ultimately work better for both markets.
"The Capital City Market's been a high-volume, good sales market for us," said Rice. "It's pretty adventurous--for lack of a better way of saying it--for us to help join and form a new market. But we're hoping it will help better serve our customers."