Lines formed beneath a floating blue and white balloon archway as Facebook's first farmers' market, held in the company's transformed parking lot, launched on Sunday morning, Oct. 4.
Children hopped around the bounce house, picnic tables quickly filled with food truck fare and conversations, and approximately 35 to 40 local vendors sold their wares, many offering free samples to visitors.
There were more than 1,000 market visitors, according to an estimate by Alexandria Gahagan, manager of global events and amenities at Facebook. She said that even though Facebook is a global social media company, it's looking for ways to integrate and connect with the community and its neighbors as it continues to expand.
The market, planned to take place weekly, was hosted by West Coast Farmers' Market Association. In addition to standard payment for goods, vendors accepted EBT credits, according to Jan Taylor, director of market operations; that means that visitors who are eligible for federal food assistance are able to convert those credits to tokens to buy market produce.
For vendors like Donna Tubbs and her son Jason, of Tantalizing Toffee, the farmers' market stood out for its friendly atmosphere. Mary Ann Vlcek of Grandma's Gardens, who sells handmade aprons and plants, said the market was a "great setting," and that she "came out to enjoy the day."
Ko Ota, who was visiting the farmers' market with her family, said she appreciated the opportunity to relax with her two children in a "good area." She said she plans to return to the market.
Menlo Park Mayor Catherine Carlton, who was there with other parents from her child's soccer team, said she was "absolutely delighted" with the turnout, and was happy to see a community-building event like a farmers' market in the area.
"I haven't seen an unhappy face yet," she said.
The farmers' market will take place each Sunday in the Facebook parking lot at 1 Hacker Way from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.