Swarthmore Farmers Market Will Move

Caruso Affiliated announced via a May 19 Facebook post that the Palisades Farmers Market on Swarthmore will have its final day this year on Sunday, July 17. This is close to when demolition of buildings along the street and excavation of the outdoor parking lot is scheduled to begin, making way for Caruso’s Palisades Village development.

“Caruso is committed to bringing the Farmers Market back once we open,” the post read. “The temporary new location has yet to be determined, but we are working closely with the market to find a comfortable place for the community within the Palisades.”

Four months ago in January, Caruso had already begun investigating new market locations, including Palisades Charter High School. Ryan Hawley from Caruso and two representatives from the market toured the school grounds as a possible temporary location for the market, but at that time when contacted by the Palisades News, Caruso representative Liz Jaeger insisted that the market would not need to move during construction.

“Our goal is to keep the beloved Palisades Farmers Market operating on Swarthmore throughout construction,” Jaeger said in an email. “When the time comes, we will work with the market to figure out how best to accommodate it once construction starts. If the market chooses to temporarily relocate during construction, we look forward to welcoming it back immediately following construction.”

In January, Melissa Farwell, the market’s director of operations, confirmed that although the market had been looking into moving to the high school or another Palisades location during construction, Caruso had assured them that the market would not need to move.

Caruso’s recent Facebook post stated: “Unfortunately, the removal of the existing surface lot during construction creates a strain on parking in the Alphabet streets. We, along with the Farmers Market, felt that our neighbors shouldn’t bear the brunt of this parking impact during construction. Caruso is committed to bringing the Farmers Market back once we open.”

Farwell confirmed that PaliHi is one of the potential locations being considered, but she would not reveal the other potential locations. David Riccardi, the director of operations at Pali, said a market representative approached him again in mid-May about moving to the school, but as of May 26, he had not received further indications about the market’s plans.

In January, he shared that both the market and Caruso representatives had considered the middle parking lot above the faculty lot (and directly below El Medio) as the best high school destination for the market. At that time, he said, “We can absolutely accommodate them” and noted that the location would allow for a larger market.

Some residents at a recent farmers market told the News that a potential new location could be on Antioch between Swarthmore and Via de la Paz, or on Via between Antioch and Bowdoin. However, the Methodist Church and the YMCA need street access on Via every Sunday, so parking could be problematic on Sundays. Another suggestion is the lower playground at Marquez Elementary.

“We’re open to any location we can make work,” Farwell said, adding that whether the market would physically fit, parking logistics and permit requirements for fire, health and agriculture are some of the considerations for a temporary location.

Both Farwell and Jaeger from Caruso Affiliated said the plan is for the market to return to Swarthmore after construction.

If Swarthmore is converted to a one-way street and the sidewalks are widened (as Caruso hopes to do), there wouldn’t be room for the current four rows of vendor stalls, plus the 14-foot fire lane mandated for all farmers markets. But Farwell said these street/sidewalk changes would not be a factor.

“We’re working it out so we can definitely move back,” she said. “We can reconfigure things. We might have to have a different layout for the market. Caruso really wants us. We want to be there. That’s our home . . . Being a part of what Caruso is going to create is important to us, and it’s important to him.”

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