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Santa Rosa farmers market moving to Wells Fargo Center

  • The Santa Rosa Farmers Market, Saturday Feb. 4, 2012 in the parking lot of the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Hall. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2012

The Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market announced Thursday that it will relocate to the south parking area of the Wells Fargo Center for the Performing Arts on May 19.

The market decided to move from its current location at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building after Sonoma County officials ended the market's lease in a dispute over higher costs.

The county has rented the space to the newly formed Redwood Empire Farmer's Market, which is partly made up of former and current vendors of the Original Farmers Market.

Santa Rosa Farmers Market

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"We found a new home," said Lesley Brabyn, secretary for the Original Farmers market. "We're absolutely thrilled to be part of Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. Their commitment to the community is a good match for our purposes and our mission as well."

The market's vendors will be notified of the move by regular mail, email and through fliers this weekend.

"We are thrilled to have the market coming here," said Peggy Mulhall, director of business partnerships and community relationships for Wells Fargo Center. "They are a 40-year-old community treasure and we are a 30-year-old community treasure."

Mulhall said that negotiations between the two parties began in mid-March and that a one-year rental agreement was signed on Wednesday.

The Original Farmers Market said it would hold all special events at the new location, including Farm Animal Day, Heirloom Tomato Tasting and Honor the Gravenstein Apple Day.

County officials said that since 2002 they have been giving the market a rent break worth $156,000 compared to the standard rate for the facility. The market's rent was supposed to increase in 2009, but the county gave it a three-year reprieve.

The market's rent this summer was to increase from $23,875 a year to $57,660, a 140 percent increase market representatives said was too onerous.


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