Category Archives: Press Room

Press releases and media stories about PCFMA’s farmers’ markets.

Allen Moy Selected as New PCFMA Director

We are pleased to announce that the Board of Directors voted unanimously to appoint Allen Moy as Executive Director of the Association, effective January 21, 2015.

Allen joined PCFMA as Assistant Director in 2003, and in 2011 he was appointed Director of Community Based Programs for PCFMA and became Executive Director of Fresh Approach, a non-profit affiliate of PCFMA engaged in the provision of health and nutrition education and food accessibility in the PCFMA market area.

Allen J Moy - Head Shot 2When Allen joined PCFMA he brought over 15 years of experience in nonprofit organizations including nearly seven years as Director of Operations of the National Community Building Network in Oakland, California – a membership-based alliance of over 700 local anti-poverty groups from around the nation. Allen’s prior employment included three years as Public Information Specialist for Partnership for Hope, a non-profit anti-poverty research and advocacy group in San Antonio, Texas; and nearly five years with the Southwest Voter Research Institute, a national non-profit organization working to secure Hispanic voting rights.

Allen holds a Master’s in Urban Administration and a Bachelor’s in Communications and Political Science, both from Trinity University in San Antonio. Allen also has a Certificate in Human Resource Management from California State University, Hayward (now Cal State East Bay). Allen currently resides in Concord.

Being an active volunteer is also important to Allen. He is Treasurer and a past President of the California Small Farm Conference – a nonprofit organization that hosts educational conferences for California’s small farmers and a former Board member of Family Builders by Adoption – an Oakland, California-based foster care and adoption agency.

Allen has been instrumental in managing the growth of PCFMA over the last 12 years and he has been extremely effective in obtaining grant funding for research, development and promotion of farmers’ markets. In carrying out this work, Allen has developed tools to measure a market’s viability and has become an expert in opening and operating vibrant farmers’ markets. Allen led the PCFMA and Fresh Approach team that wrote a handbook on opening and operating a community based farmers’ market. The PCFMA Leadership Team wholeheartedly supports Allen’s appointment.

The Board stands ready to support Allen in facing the challenges ahead. We ask all of the members of the PCFMA community to congratulate Allen and to give him your enthusiastic support in continuing to make PCFMA the best operator of Certified Farmers’ Markets in California.

John Silveira, Director, Moves On

As you are aware, our longtime Executive Director, John Silveira, recently stepped away from that position. His departure was somewhat abrupt and came as more than a bit of a surprise to the Board of Directors.

I think it is appropriate to visit some of the remarkable history of Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association during the time John led the organization. John worked for PCFMA for more than 22 years, starting as a market manager. He was Executive Director for the past 13 years. When John took the helm, we had 11 employees. We now have over 50 employees at the peak of the Farmers’ Market season. Our revenues have quadrupled, but stall fees have only doubled. We have grown from 11 markets to 64 markets. John was instrumental in creating a model for smaller Farmers’ Markets located in corporate facilities in a partnership with Kaiser Permanente. This model has since been implemented in partnership with several other sponsors. I honestly believe that the efforts of John and PCFMA have been crucial in helping some farmers get started and have provided outlets that have allowed them to continue bringing fresh California-grown products to our neighborhoods.

This exceptional growth did not come without some managerial challenges. John met those challenges with enthusiasm and his management skills grew with the organization. In the past few years, at the request of the Board, John oversaw a successful overhaul of our organizational structure and the hiring of talented and committed staff to carry forward the mission of the organization.
Our most recent audit was the best I have seen in the 14 years I have been on the Board. We are in sound financial condition and have the resources to continue to meet the challenges faced by the direct marketing of California agricultural products.

In watching John over the past 14 years, I have been constantly amazed at his devotion to PCFMA and to the staff, California farmers, market sponsors and consumers. John loved the markets; he could often be found visiting markets, when he could otherwise have had the time off. He even filled in as a market manager on occasion, just because he found it rewarding.

John had relationships with a diverse and widespread network of farmers, vendors, market sponsors, local, state and national government agencies, trade groups and other market operators. John’s efforts over the past three years were a major part of the recent adoption of AB 1871, which passed last year and was signed by Governor Brown. This legislation updates the laws concerning Certified Farmers’ Markets in California and provides a much-needed boost to funding for market integrity. I don’t know where John found the time to do all the things he did. If I had tried to do half of what John did, I would have been exhausted. John was energized.

John left PCFMA in great shape, with fiscal, physical and human assets in place to continue the work he cared so much about.

We will miss John’s skill, devotion and passion. We all wish him the best and I am confident that PCFMA will continue to build our future success on the foundation so well laid by John Silveira.

New Farmers’ Market Postage Stamps Arrive!

stamp 2Stalls filled with gorgeous fruits and vegetables, flowers, bread, eggs, and herbs are the subject of the new set of four farmers’ market themed postage stamps. Each one is a colorful reminder of how important farmers’ markets are to our community, our farmers, and our health, and how they are much more than just places to buy fruit and vegetables. They support the local economy and provide us with a connection to what we eat.

stamp 3Each of the four stamp designs shows a group of special items you would find at your local farmers’ market. One has fruits and vegetables, another has colorful flowers, the third depicts fresh bread, artisan cheese, and eggs, and the last one has fresh herbs and potted plants. This community gathering place is how artist Robin Moline depicts a farmers’ market.

Earlier this year Daniel Best, general counsel for the California Federation of Certified Farmers’ Markets and Barbara Plunkett, the Postal Service’s district manager in Sacramento unveiled thestamp 1 series of stamps at Capitol Mall. Also in attendance was John Silveira, director of Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association. He says “Farmers markets can change the culture in a community and I think the stamp is a recognition of that.”

stamp 4Show your support for your local farmers’ markets and your community by purchasing some of these gorgeous stamps. These commemorative stamps and other related farmers’ market stamp products can be purchased at your local post office or at www.usps.com/stamps.

November 2014 Market Thymes Newsletter

November 2014-1November 2014

This is the time of year to be grateful. We thank our farmers for bringing us fruits, vegetables, nuts, flowers, meats, eggs, and other California products, even in these trying times of drought. And we are grateful to those of you who have supported your local farmers’ market this year.

In this month’s Market Thymes we offer information on sweet potatoes, and a very informative article by our Cookin’ the Market chefs on shallots and how to use them. We are also announcing the launch of our “Brown is the New Green” campaign which offers thoughts on conserving water in this multi-year drought.

And we’d also like you to remember those who are less fortunate this time of year. Not everyone can sit down to a table laden with all the Thanksgiving fixings. Hunger is prevalent in every community in the nation and at all seasons of the year. PCFMA supports programs that help people access healthy foods so stop by your local farmers’ market and select fresh produce to donate locally.

Have a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving!

Asian Citrus Psyllid Detected in San Jose

Leaf damage from Psyllid

The time for citrus is coming soon. The winter months provide us with local oranges and tangerines and more, but the crop could be in jeopardy with the significant finding of the citrus psyllid in Santa Clara County.

The Santa Clara County Agricultural Commissioner, in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is beginning an extensive survey in response to the detection of Asian citrus psyllids (ACP) in the City of San Jose near Kelly Park.  This is the first detection of ACP in Santa Clara County and the Bay Area.

The ACP were detected in a residential neighborhood near Phelan Avenue and Roberts Avenue in San Jose. Treatment activities will be carried out on all citrus plants surrounding the sites where the insects were trapped.  Residents in the treatment area will be notified in advance of any activity.  Additionally, an increased number of traps have been deployed and a visual survey is ongoing on the surrounding properties in an attempt to determine if there is an infestation.

“The Asian citrus psyllid is a dangerous pest of citrus,” said Joe Deviney, Santa Clara County Agricultural Commissioner.  “We’re working to determine the full extent of this infestation so that we can protect our state’s vital citrus industry as well as our backyard citrus trees.  We want to emphasize citrus is safe to eat and the disease is not harmful to human health.  Working together we can prevent the harm this invasive species can cause.”

Adult citrus psyllid

The ACP is an invasive species of grave concern because it can carry the disease huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening.  All citrus and closely related species are susceptible hosts for both the insect and the disease.  There is no cure once a tree becomes infected, the diseased tree will decline in health and produce bitter, misshaped fruit until it dies. HLB has been detected just once in California – in 2012 on a single residential property in Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles County. HLB is present in Mexico and in parts of the southern U.S.  Florida first detected ACP in 1998 and the disease in 2005, and the two have now been detected in all 30 citrus-producing counties in that state.  The University of Florida estimates the disease has tallied more than 6,600 lost jobs, $1.3 billion in lost revenue to growers and $3.6 billion in lost economic activity.

Check your trees at home and be vigilant in letting the CDFA know if you have spotted what you think is the citrus psyllid. Check with your local Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County. Residents in the area who think they may have seen the pest are urged to call the Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.  For more information on the Asian citrus psyllid and huanglongbing disease, please visit: www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/acp

Seasonal Supper: Field to Fork

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Share an intimate evening with local farmers while you enjoy multiple courses highlighting the food they grow. The Seasonal Supper will be a true Field to Fork event hosted by the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association at Hap Magee Ranch in Danville.

Each course, delicately crafted by Chef Mario Hernandez, will feature the seasonal harvest from Tomatero Farm, Frog Hollow Farm, Happy Acre Farm and more producers from the Danville Farmers’ Market. Glennhawk Vineyards will be generously providing tastings and menu pairings of their wine selection, grown right here in Danville, adding to this truly local experience.

Participating Danville Farmers’ Market Farms and Producers:
Achadinha Cheese Co.
CMC Farms
Frog Hollow Farm
Glennhawk Vineyards
Happy Acre Farm
Prather Ranch
Sunrise Nursery
Tomatero Organic Farm

Enjoy farm-fresh food, live music, fine local wine, and a raffle benefiting nutritional education programs for low-income families of the Bay Area made possible by our sister organization, Fresh Approach.

Proceeds from this event will go to Fresh Approach programming and support the participating farms. Extra donations are gladly accepted. Many thanks to Glennhawk Vineyards for sponsoring this event.

All of your donations will support Fresh Approach and their efforts to increase healthy food access in the Bay Area.

Tickets are limited! They are available now at the Danville Farmers’ Market or at Brown Paper Tickets. Check with the market manager for details.

PCFMA Celebrates National Farmers’ Market Week With 2nd Annual “Love My Market” Photo Contest

Love-My-market-posterJoin Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association (PCFMA) in celebrating National Farmers’ Market Week this year from August 3rd to 9th. PCFMA joins the USDA and farmers’ markets around the country in celebrating the first week of August. “Farmers markets are an important public face for agriculture and a critical part of our nation’s food system,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “They provide benefits not only to the farmers looking for important income opportunities, but also help fill a growing consumer demand for fresh, healthy foods.”

PCFMA will celebrate throughout the entire month of August with the 2nd annual “Love My Market” photo contest. To participate, snap a photo of what you love about YOUR local farmers’ market whether it’s the unusual produce, your favorite farmer, being with your family or anything else farmers’ market related. Submit the photo to lovemymarket@pcfma.com OR post the photo on Instagram with the hashtag #lovemyPCFMAmarket between August 1st and August 31st. Please limit ONE ENTRY per person. See official rules at http://www.pcfma.com/lovemymarket . Please also include the name of your farmers’ market in your caption or email.

Contestants will have a chance to win the Grand Prize of a one night stay for two at the Capay Valley Bed & Breakfast and tickets to the nearby Hoes Down Festival at Full Belly Farm. Second place prize will be two tickets to the Farm to Fork Dinner presented by CAFF at the Guglielmo Winery in Morgan Hill. Third prizes include “Carrot Cash” (which is good at any farmers’ market that PCFMA operates) and a reusable bag filled with fresh seasonal produce.

Composting & the PCFMA Garden

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The PCFMA Office Garden is growing!

We are completing work on another planting area around the south corner of the office. Matt Sylvester, market manager and head PCFMA gardener extraordinaire, and other staff members, have planted various tasty summer veggies like zucchini and other summer squash, tomatoes, fresh herbs, sunflowers, and peppers for our  culinary enjoyment. We await the first tomatoes and watch as squash blossoms slowly grow into zucchini. How cool is it to walk out the office door and pick something fresh for our lunch!? So go ahead – start your own small garden! It’s well worth it!

We began composting as well! The inspiration for the bin arose partly from necessity. We don’t have green bins in Contra Costa County and at the office we have a lot of food scraps. We  also wanted compost we could use on our kitchen garden. PCFMA is a certified green business and the staff here cares about being more eco-friendly, so Sara Haston, Market Chef and DSC_0021Creative Specialist for Cookin’ The Market, thoughtfully wrote up a proposal and was quickly approved to purchase one. After she chose the best one for PCFMA, she found a space for it, and discussed with the staff about how to use it.

Thus far there has been a tremendous interest in it. Sara’s role is to manage the contents to make sure there is a proper ratio of nitrogen elements (think food scraps) to carbon (think leaves, hay and dry plant matter): 1/3 to 2/3. Once it is almost full she will let it sit for a few weeks without adding anymore materials, turn it once a week to aerate it, wait for it to breakdown into usable compost, and then shovel it out into our garden. This Sara’s first time using a bin, as her experience has been with pile composting, so we excited about what we will all learn along the way.

 

New Honey Labeling Rules Proposed by the FDA

Penrod honey
Penrod Farms, Camino

On April 8, 2014 the FDA set new draft guidelines for what can be called pure honey. In the past some of the honey on store shelves, either US-made or imported, did not have to have labeling that indicated anything other than that honey was in their product. Now honey would be labeled as having added sweeteners such as sugar, corn syrup, or other additions if these ingredients are used. It must also say that it is a “honey blend” and not pure honey. The Food and Drug Administration also says that any product that’s been ultra-filtered and no longer contains pollen isn’t honey. However, the FDA isn’t checking honey sold here to see if it contains pollen.

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Marshall’s Farm Natural Honey, American Canyon

The proposal’s aim is “to advise the regulated food industry on the proper labeling of honey and honey products to help ensure that honey and honey products are not adulterated or mis-branded,” the FDA wrote.

It is estimated that the U.S. imports the majority of the 400 million pounds of honey we consume each year. To meet this demand there were concerns that cheap substitutes are being manufactured. Only 149 million pounds of honey were produced in this country last year, so the difference had to be made up somewhere.

The FDA decided to look at the question of adulterated honey after a petition from the American Beekeeping Federation and other groups asked for a standard definition of honey to promote fair trade. The agency did not agree on the fair trade issue, but decided to review labeling.

Honey makers now have 60 days to comment on the proposal before the final rules are issued. And even then, the guidelines aren’t mandatory. It only allows for the FDA to make an official statement on the matter.

If you are concerned about what you’re getting in your honey and want to avoid corn syrup and other sweeteners, look no further than local honey producers who offer pure sweet honey from local sources. Visit your farmers’ market and talk with your local beekeepers to find out how they produce their honey.

Read details on the FDA’s new honey regulations here.

Click here to find out more about filtered and adulterated honey and find out what you’re really buying at the grocery store.

The Drought and Our Farmers

From John Silveira, PCFMA Director:

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California almond trees left to die because there is no water for irrigation.

The potential implications of a sustained drought on our state’s farmers and our state’s economy are very worrisome. At the end of February, the San Francisco Chronicle published a story headlined “California Almond Farmers Face Tough Choices,” which addressed the impact of the drought on just one sector of the farming community – almond farmers. The article profiled farmers who are choosing to remove mature, productive almond trees because they don’t have enough water to maintain them. To get additional perspective on this issue, we turned to Les Portello, a founding member of the PCFMA Board of Directors who, after retiring from the California Department of Food and Agriculture, had a successful career as an almond farmer.

Les explained that almond trees must either be provided with sufficient water to remain healthy, or be removed. Trees that are not provided with enough water develop pests that can spread even to healthy, irrigated trees in the orchard. The decision to remove trees is serious as it creates long term financial implications for the farm. Once the drought has ended and an almond farmer decides to replant trees, it will be many years before the harvests from the new trees are equal to that of the mature trees that were removed. Les said that advances in soil and plant science allow new trees to begin producing two to three years after being planted, where it used to take five years to collect a harvest from a new tree. However, even with these scientific advances, it will take seven to eight years for these new trees to fully develop. That means these farmers, even if the drought were to end next winter, will be feeling the economic impacts past the year 2020.

Les also mentioned that the issue for farmers is not just the amount of water that is available, but the quality of the water. Some farms are able to use wells to extract water from underground aquifers, but the high salt content of the water that is pumped up is harmful to salt-sensitive crops like almonds. The water delivery systems that have been built to move water throughout our state’s agricultural regions are important not just for the quantity of the water that they deliver, but also for the water’s quality.

The family farmers that sell in PCFMA’s farmers’ markets are facing these kinds of decisions about their future every day, basing their decisions on factors of water and weather that they cannot control or predict. As someone who enjoys the fruits of their labor, it is important to me that they have the water they need to grow the crops which help feed our families and our communities. And it is important that Bay Area communities have sufficient water to be able to remain economically vibrant so its residents can continue to purchase locally grown fruits, vegetables and nuts.

There are no easy answers to the state’s water issues, but until the drought breaks, I hope we can all do our part to share this precious resource.