The PCFMA Staff
PCFMA's staff includes farmers' market managers, experienced marketing and promotions professionals, administrators, chefs, and others all dedicated to developing, sustaining and improving PCFMA's farmers' markets. The PCFMA staff is dedicated to ensuring that farmers' markets remain successful outlets for California's small family farms and fun family gatherings for the communities we serve. Click on the arrow next to a staff member's name to learn more about them.
John W. Silveira, Director
John is the Director of the Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association. He joined PCFMA as a Market Manager in 1992, became Operations Director two years later, and took on the position of Director in 1999. Prior to joining PCFMA, John sold in farmers' markets for a farmer from Dinuba, worked as an air traffic controller, and served in the US Navy.
Lauren Beal, Nutrition Educator
Lauren was born and raised in Oakland, CA and received her B.A. in Latin American Studies with an emphasis in Public Health from UC Berkeley. She lived in a small town in the high mountains of Ecuador as a Community Health Peace Corps Volunteer where she taught classes on nutrition, hygiene, and sexual and reproductive health. She joined PCFMA in late April 2013 and is very excited to bring her knowledge of nutrition and her experience as a health educator back home to the Bay!
Cody Brooks, Market Manager
Cody has been a resident of Antioch, CA his whole life. He’s a relative and employee of Delta Moon Soapworks since its inception, over 10 years ago. He’s worked, and managed in many different retail store for the past 8 years. He joined PCFMA in March 2012. In his spare time he likes to resurrect cars that are on their last legs.
Anna Buss, Chef & Creative Specialist for Cookin' the Market
Anna Buss has come to PCFMA after spending time working and cooking on small organic farms. She earned her degree in Marketing Communications and Photography from Emerson College, and is thrilled to combine her love of food, photography, and engaging with the public for the Cookin’ the Market Program. She is also very grateful for the cooking skills she has been gaining from working alongside Chef Mario, and is thankful for the hardworking farmers that bring wonderful produce to the markets every day.
Laura deTar, Nutrition Program Manager, Fresh Approach
Laura deTar joined Fresh Approach as the Nutrition Program Manager in February of 2013. Laura has a Master’s degree in Public Health and is a Certified Health Education Specialist. Laura comes to Fresh Approach with experience as a public health advocate, organizing farm-to-school programs, and coordinating research projects on health behaviors. Laura is passionate about helping all people access fresh and healthy food, and talking with people about how to easily incorporate fresh foods into their diets.
Thomas Dorn, Market Manager
Thomas grew up in Antioch and attended Tracy High, joined the FFA and also took an Animal Husbandry course on ag animals. In the late 80's his family moved to Modesto and they lived off Kansas Ave near all the orchards. He attended college for short period at Delta College in Stockton and also attended Brookdale College in Lincroft New Jersey. He joined Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association in July of 2001.
Jessica Echols, Administrative Assistant
Stephanie Hadsell, Market Manager
Stephanie was born and raised here locally in Martinez, CA. After graduating high school she moved to San Luis Obispo where she attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and attained her Bachelor of Science in Agricultural business. She spent a lot of her time post-graduation wine-making in the Napa Valley as well as the south island of New Zealand. Although still new to PCFMA, Stephanie has enjoyed the markets and establishing relationships with producers as well as helping local farmers and ranchers run confident businesses. In Stephanie’s free time she enjoys hiking, crossfitting, traveling, and thrifting!
Mario Hernandez, Chef & Program Coordinator for Cookin' the Market
Mario just returned to the Bay Area after opening a small café in New York City. After two years of east coast weather and slim produce picking’s, he is super excited about the California sun and the great farmer’s market s available here. He spends he’s free time foraging the Oakland hills for mushrooms and wild edibles and recovering from poison oak.
Maureen Hovda, Administrative Manager
Maureen Hovda joined PCFMA in Feb 2010 as Administrative Manager. Before joining PCFMA, she worked part-time as a bookkeeper at Longs Drugs (now CVS) from 1992 to 2010. She enjoys spending her free time with her three kids and two dogs and serves on the PTA board.
Ron Jackson, Market Manager
Ron first joined PCFMA in 2000 as the Assistant Manager of the Jack London Square Farmers' Market. In 2009 he decided to join PCFMA full-time and now manages markets in both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
Jeff Jelsma, Market Manager
Jeff is a California native, originally from the capitol city of Sacramento before moving to the Bay Area in 2005. He received a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies with a minor in Chemistry from UC Berkeley, and is still taking classes at the local city college. As a Market Manager, Jeff really enjoys connecting with the communities that his markets serve, and providing them with a local, fresh produce source. Before becoming a Market Manager, Jeff sold bread at the Castro Market with the San Francisco based bakery Crepe & Brioche. In his free time he likes to explore the outdoors, ride around San Francisco, read, and eat good food.
Jacqueline Kidd, Director of Administration
She has a BA in Communications and a Masters in Public Administration.Her last assignment was as Chief Operations Officer/VP of Programs for a small faith-based, non-profit organization. Prior to that she was the Northern California Human Resources Manager for a major Fortune 500 retailer. She loves to travel and is working toward her Masters degree.
Carrie King, Assistant Market Manager
Carrie comes from Petaluma, a town that celebrates its farming roots annually with a giant “Butter and Eggs Day” parade. She graduated last year from UC San Diego and wants to eventually obtain a graduate degree in a nutrition related field, and in the meantime her favorite part of working for PCFMA is talking about healthy eating with shoppers at her farmers markets. She studied abroad in Rome in 2011 and learned a lot about the benefits of eating locally and the Slow Food Movement. She loves running, photography, and the outdoors in general. For the past four summers, she worked in the Sierra Foothills as a summer camp counselor.
Pat Lane, Public Relations
Pat is well-known and much-loved fixture in the Pleasanton community after years of work for the Pleasanton Downtown Association. She now fills her Saturdays holding court at the Information Booth at the Pleasanton Farmers' Market.
Shawn Lipetzky, Market Manager
Shawn hails from Minneapolis Minnesota. He moved to California seven plus years ago to hang out with his sister and brother in-law. He received his associates degree in general studies from Monterey Community College. He and his wife moved to the Bay Area in 2008. In 2010 he was hired by PCFMA as a Market Manager. He says the best part of the job is befriending and learning from the producers.
Minnie Low, Market Manager
Minnie is a Market Manager who hails from the South Bay. She served a year as an AmeriCorps*VISTA Member at Feeding America San Diego, building capacity for CalFresh/SNAP in San Diego County. She is passionate about increasing healthy food access for underserved populations and providing public service to nonprofit organizations. She is also a volunteer for PCFMA’s sister organization, Fresh Approach.
Maureen McCloskey, Marketing & Promotions Specialist
Maureen recently joined PCFMA and will be providing marketing support for the markets with a focus on public relations and social media. She also recently relocated from Indianapolis, Indiana, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Marketing and gained experience working in the environmental and engineering consulting industries. Having been a vegetarian for about five years, she has become more and more interested in healthy living. In her spare time, she enjoys running, festivals, exploring the Bay Area and volunteering for animal rescue organizations.
Moises Mena, Market Manager
Moses was born and raised in South San Jose where he graduated from the school of hard knocks. He spent his early 20’s in and out of college and working for various retail chains. In 2008 Moses moved to Lafayette, Louisiana with his best pal Bailey (yellow lab), in an attempt to continue his education, but instead went to work for a large oil field company. Four years later he’s back in full effect and proud to be working in a positive light as a farmers market manager!
Jessica Millender, Regional Manager
Jessica is a Regional Manager for the Contra Costa Region who hails from Southern California. She is passionate about sharing her adventurous attitude for food with her newly found community in the Bay Area. She received her B.S in Hotel and Restaurant Management from California Polytechnic State University, Pomona and her M.B.A at the Keller Graduate School of Management. A running theme in Jessica’s career choices have been education and community building. She has worked for City of Walnut, AmeriCorps, Boys & Girls Club, and Hayward Unified School District. Her presence was a natural fit into PCFMA family.
Debra J. Morris, Marketing & Promotions Specialist
Debra hails from Pasadena, CA and moved to the Bay Area in 1999. She has a degree in Arts and Education, worked for many years as a museum registrar, owned her own graphics business, and now promotes farmers' markets at PCFMA by creating printed materials for the markets, provides e-newsletters for each market, and writes newspaper articles for local papers. Also an avid gardener, she received her Master Gardener certification for Contra Costa County in 2006 and helps provide Master Gardener volunteers for the farmers' markets.
Allen J. Moy, Director of Community Based Programs
Allen J. Moy is Assistant Director of PCFMA with responsibilities in the areas of human resources, program coordination and administration. Allen joined PCFMA in 2003, bringing over 15 years of experience in nonprofit organizations
Allen is a native of San Antonio, Texas. He 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 Manager from California State University, Hayward (now Cal State East Bay). Allen currently resides in Concord, California.
Allen is President of the California Small Farm Conference - a nonprofit organization that hosts educational conferences for California's small farmers and a member of the Board of Directors of Family Builders by Adoption - an Oakland, California-based foster care and adoption agency.
Tom Nichol, Market Manager
Born in Stanton, VA, his family migrated to Central Florida, in the early 1960’s, pre-Disney when the area was a major citrus producing region. He attended The University of Florida, earning a liberal arts degree. After his college days, he embarked on a series of adventures leading to a phone interview with PCFMA in 1994. He was asked, "how soon can you get here?" ...so two weeks later he was off to California to become a market manager. Since then he's managed a wide range of markets in the Bay area, and have seen many changes in the Association and markets in general. Throughout this time he's enjoyed interacting with a diverse group of producers who are devoted to providing fresh food to the communities that support Farmers' Markets.
Anne O'Leary, Market Manager
Anne, who manages markets in the South Bay, has spent many years working with Bay Area non-profits and county programs devoted to helping people who are experiencing hunger and homelessness. At Pacific Coast, Anne particularly appreciates PCFMA’s efforts to promote EBT use at the markets, and has worked with Cooking Matters to bring nutrition and cooking classes to health centers and transitional housing sites. When not working, Anne spends her time tending to the too many roses she has planted in her garden.
Ben Palazzolo, Regional Manager
Ben recently moved to the Bay Area from San Luis Obispo. While living there he worked at an independent health food store, managed a salsa dance club, and earned a B.S. from Cal Poly State University. He loves to dance, cook, eat and socialize.
Tomas Pascual, Market Manager
Tomas was born in Central America and immigrated to the California at the age of 17. He is the first generation to receive a higher education and to graduate from the university level. In 2007 he received his Bachelor's of Science in Business Administration from Sacramento State University; and in 2008 he received a Translation and Interpretation Certificate in English and Spanish at The National Hispanic University in San Jose, CA. The major focus of the translation program was medical and legal terms. One of Tomas' many activities during his free time is playing soccer. He also enjoys playing his guitar and passing time with his friends.
Michael Peterson, Market Manager
Michael has lived in Martinez for twenty three years and has developed a great relationship with the community through his work. He has helped Martinez a lot with volunteering at different events throughout the community. Michael has traveled a lot thought his life he has been to the Galapagos Islands, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, France and Italy and has learned a lot from each of the places he has been.
Sameer Poudyal, Market Manager
Sameer hails from Kathmandu, Nepal - a land of farmers. Here in the US, he went to Winona State University in Minnesota for computer science in 2003. Sameer enjoys helping farmers and his previous experience as a vendor in different farmers market helped him as Market Manager.
Greg Pursley, Regional Manager
Born and raised in San Francisco, Greg has been a competitor in Alpine Skiing, Sailing & Fencing. He earned degrees in Architecture and Engineering as well as acquiring a Building Inspectors Certification in Construction. While in college he competed in the NCAA in Fencing and at one time was nationally ranked. He has owned and operated his own Fencing Academy for over 25 years, and has had many of his students get their national ranking as well. Over the years he has held many different jobs in a wide range of fields. He has been a painter, carpenter and has worked on contract with the Government as Lead Designer on jets. He and his wife Virginia have lived in Martinez for the last 16 years where they have raised their 4 children.
Leah Ricci, Volunteer Coordinator
Leah Ricci joined PCFMA as Volunteer Coordinator in January of 2013. Leah has a B.A in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from Bowdoin College. She previously spent five years working at outdoor schools in the Santa Cruz mountains, managing residential outdoor education programs and recruiting, training, and mentoring high school volunteers. She has also taught gardening and cooking lessons at Bay Area summer camps, and recently spent six months teaching English in Chile and Peru. In her free time, Leah is an advocate for pedal-powered transportation and loves to bake pies.
Stefan J. Robinson, Director of Marketing & Promotions
Raised in Washington State, Stefan Robinson graduated from Washington State University with a bachelor’s degree in Advertising. He then joined PCFMA as a Promotions Coordinator in 2005 and in 2009 took the role as the Director of Marketing & Promotions. In that role he oversees the development and execution of marketing and advertising strategies for all of PCFMA's farmers' markets. In Stefan’s free time, he enjoys cooking with fresh ingredients from the farmers’ markets, listening to music, working with his hands, and spending time with family and friends. He is a little league football coach extraordinaire, an avid snowboarder, a world traveler, and deathly afraid of sharks.
Laura Salcido, Agriculture Program Manager, Fresh Approach
Laura is a life-long resident of San Jose, and continues to advocate for it everywhere she goes. She first began learning about program development working at UC Santa Cruz while she was a student there. She learned about the interesting issues at the intersection of agriculture, society, and the environment as a Farmers’ Market Manager, and then as a Farm to School Coordinator for the South Bay.
Matthew Sylvester, Market Manager
Matthew was born and raised in Oakland and received his B.A in Global and International Studies from UCSB. He is passionate about urban farming and gardening, and is currently raising 9 chickens as well as a diverse garden. While new to PCFMA he is familiar with farmers markets having sold produce at various farms in California and Hawaii. An avid traveler and volunteer, Matthew is a well-rounded individual who is happy to be working for an association that helps bridge the gap between healthy produce and consumers.
Chong Thao, Market Manager
Chong was born in Thailand and moved to California in 1991. Je joined PCFMA in 2009 as market manager. He enjoys working in the field with staff, farmers, and consumers. Prior to joining PCFMA, he worked at his family farm, sold produce at the farmers' markets, and attended CSU Fresno. His passions are modifying sports cars, computers, music, football, basketball, vollyball, and movies.
Max Timms, Direct Marketing Coordinator
Originally from Macomb, Illinois which is located in the heart of the corn belt, Max is a former boy scout and private pilot. After graduating from the University of Illinois in Radio-Television, he moved to California and worked for Longs Drug Stores for 25 years, starting in the stores in San Diego. Later he made training films and ran promotional advertising at Longs general office in Walnut Creek. He has enjoyed working at PCFMA since 2005.
Kelly Toomey, Market Manager
High Flying Kelly comes to us as a native from the Bay Area. This little tumbler has lived everywhere as far east as Antioch and as far west as San Francisco. Now currently residing in Martinez, he is a newbie to the Pacific Coast family and enjoys all the fruitiness that it has to offer. He is an ex-flying trapeze artist with the circus who’s background is fifteen years as a competitive gymnast. His foodie knowledge comes with his restaurant experience where he’s worked his way up from being a server to being in charge of his own restaurant with a staff of 50 people. He’s excited about being part of the San Mateo Saturday market which is the largest market in the PCFMA organization, and he loves all delectable produce that California has to offer.
Ramiro Tovar, Market Manager
Ramiro is a Market Manager working at farmers' markets in Santa Clara County.
Sarah Trent, Marketing & Promotions Specialist
Sarah grew up in cold Minnesota, studied journalism in snowy Maine, and has finally settled in Oakland, where her vegetable garden is miraculously productive all year round! When she’s not in the garden or tending her chickens, Sarah is busy fixing up her 1945 East Oakland bungalow, coaching youth lacrosse, hiking in the hills, or planning her next globetrotting adventure.
Ron Ulrici, Training and Development Manager
Ron joined PCFMA as Training and Development Manager. He is excited to be part of an organization that has the important mission serving the farmers and other providers since he is a California native with family roots in farming and ranching stretching back to the 1800’s. His childhood home was in Salinas, the salad bowl of the nation.
Prior to joining Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market, Ron was the Director of a non-profit organization dedicated to substance abuse treatment. His career has included HR, Training and Development and Operational positions in the high tech world of Silicon Valley, in the Real Estate field and as a Management Consultant. He holds a Masters’ Degree in Human Relations.
Ron lives with his wife, Karen in Brentwood. He has three sons and a daughter. Ron tells us that he has lost count of how many grandchildren he has.
Jorge Vega, Regional Manager
Jorge was born in Mexico and brought to the US when he was 11. Growing up in Brentwood, his first job was picking fruit for local farmers. Eventually, he owned his own business repairing luxury car interiors. In 2010, Jorge attended Contra Costa Medical Career College and got certified as an EKG Technician. He has also worked as a stagehand (stage building, sound equipment, video equipment, lighting) for companies like Live Nation, Google, and Another Planet Entertainment prior to arriving at PCFMA. Jorge joined pcfma in 2009 and in May of 2013, he took the role as a Regional Manager.
In his free time, Jorge enjoys volunteering for the Red Cross and also finds sponsors who will purchase guitars for children and provides free lessons. He also enjoys spending time with my nieces and nephews, hiking, rock climbing, or recording music in his home studio. But what he enjoys most is bringing joy to my market customers with his goofy nature.
Keith Wall, Market Manager
As a long time staff member of two well represented bay area farmers’ market producers, Keith has been involved in farmers’ market culture for several years as both an agricultural and non-agricultural employee. His love of farmers’ markets extends back into his education at UCSC where he studied Agroecology in the field of Environmental Studies. Through his degree, Keith has had experience working on several Central Coast farms including the UCSC experimental farm and garden which houses a strong CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program which feeds upwards of 250 families each season. As well, Keith has studied the social impacts that farmers’ markets can have on local communities and the powerful linkages that tend to follow the establishment of localized commerce. For his BA exit requirement, Keith wrote a term paper evaluating three of the major linkages between market producers and their benefits and drawbacks. Now that Keith has moved back to his native bay area and is working for PCFMA, he hopes to utilize his experience within the farmers’ market, the farm, and the classroom to better facilitate the connection between local producers and local consumers.
Ashley Weidman, Market Manager
Ashley grew up in both the South and the East Bay, and has been immersed in the knowledge of healthy and natural foods for as long as she can remember. She lived in Dallas for four years, in Austin for three years, and returned to the Bay Area in 2005 to learn about the farm-to-table style of preparing and eating food. She was raised in a vegetarian household during the middle part of her childhood years, and her consciousness around whole foods and natural cooking was influenced strongly by her mother. She first started working with foods when she was 16, at Whole Foods Market. Over the next several years, she worked at various Whole Foods locations in Texas and California in various departments. When she moved back to the Bay, she became enamored with the Northern California farmers market produce, and a love for the raw food diet developed. She attended Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in Ft. Bragg and became a raw food chef, which landed her a private chef job for a couple in San Anselmo. Following her hunger for preparing food, she then started looking at primitive diets through the studies of Weston A. Price and Sally Fallon, and pursued an apprenticeship at Three Stone Hearth, a community-supported kitchen in Berkeley. By this time she had also started working at the Ecology Center Farmers Market in Berkeley, selling grass-fed and pastured meats, and then moved on to sell organic vegetables for a Latin producer. She became very focused on continuing to learn how to cook, and learned her cooking skills through a vegetarian meal delivery service for families that specialized in cooking with natural foods; then became pastry and sous chef Venus Restaurant, famous for its 10-year farm-to-table cooking style presence in Berkeley; B Restaurant San Francisco, where she wrote the lunch and brunch menus highlighting seasonal foods from local farmers markets; and Daniel Patterson’s Haven, where she was the pastry chef’s assistant. At PCFMA farmers markets, she loves working with and getting to know the producers as well as assisting the public in healthy eating choices.
Eric Winkler, Market Manager
Eric was born and raised in New Jersey where he graduated from Pennsauken High. After high school and working in a chocolate factory kitchen for a few years he moved to Berkeley. Eric has moved around California and lived in Seattle and Hawaii before returning to California and working for PCFMA in May of 2011.
Greg Zeroun, Market Manager
Greg grew up in San Jose, graduating from Santa Teresa High School. He loves farmers' markets so much you can often find him selling oranges for a farmer in farmers' markets in San Mateo on his days off.