Friday, March 29, 2013
Brian Beevers has a radical vision to make farmers markets the go-to place for San Diegans instead of big box supermarket chains.
The booming farmers market industry has seen a nearly 25 percent jump in business in the past 18 years. With 56 farmers markets in San Diego County, the founder of Brian's Farmers Markets saw the need to create a coalition of market managers to set some standards and create a more efficient system.
"I run currently three farmers markets and we're working on a couple more that are going to be opening up here shortly," he said.
Beevers' outdoor markets are located in three distinctly different San Diego communities: Point Loma, Golden Hill and outside the UTC mall in La Jolla. Beevers accepts only growers who don't use herbicides or pesticides and most have been certified.
"It means that the agriculture department comes out to each of the farms, so people know that the produce they're buying is a local produce," he said.
Beevers opened his first farmer's market in 2009, leaving the IT industry behind where he did website sales and development.
"It's kind of coming full circle because I was actually raised on a farm, so I spent my childhood growing up on a farm," he said.
Brian's Farmers Markets are among a few that accept EBT cards, so recipients of public assistance can also buy fresh locally grown produce.
How often do you get a chance to meet your own local farmer? We met Eli Hofshi, owner of Eli's Farms in Fallbrook, who's been in the business for three generations.
"Once I started growing this stuff, I was able to taste the difference and I really believe that I can't go and buy stuff from the local supermarket and enjoy it," Hofshi said.
Jackie's Jams also helps local farmers by purchasing their overripe fruit.
"And for us it's a win-win because we're able to buy the fruit for a lot less than we normally would, having to purchase in the height of the season," said Resa Baron, the owner of Jackie's Jams.
Beevers' ultimate goal is for more San Diegans to choose locally-grown products over produce shipped from hundreds of thousands of miles away.
"Economics in your community are going to improve, while serving your family with better foods as well," he said.