Farmers' market makes sole appearance | August 15, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - August 15, 2012

Farmers' market makes sole appearance

by Dave Boyce

In the 1954 movie "Brigadoon," a rural Scottish village and its residents exist in a never-never land, appearing for just one day every 100 years. Substitute a rural Woodside corner at Highway 84 and Skyline Boulevard, a farmers' market instead of a village, and a recent afternoon, and therein lies a local tale.

On Wednesday, Aug. 1, between 3 and 7 p.m., for the first and so far only time, a small farmers' market appeared in a parking lot shared by two businesses: the Mountain Terrace, where people celebrate events such as weddings, and Penelope's Den, a craft store. The residents of Skylonda and a few passing cyclists wandered among seven or eight tables of fresh produce, homemade cheese, sunflowers and other goods, the efforts of nearby artisans and farmers. They sold out, but a new sense of a Skylonda community had begun to insinuate itself, residents said.

The fact that it sold out "just goes to show that everybody is ready for it," said Maggie Foard, a La Honda township resident, cookbook author and chocolate maker who came up with the idea of the market.

"This was just kind of little and sweet," Skylonda resident Mary Jane Lyons told the Almanac. "I'm a supporter of the farmers' market and it's gone. It's just a shame because it was nice for the community to share fresh produce without having to drive down the hill."

Wednesday, Aug. 8, did indeed come and go without a reappearance of the market. The town had advised the market organizers that the conditional use permit for the property did not permit outdoor sales of any items. Will it return? Maybe on nearby empty land in unincorporated San Mateo County, residents say, but not legally at its Woodside location until there's a change to the town's zoning code and to the use permit.

"I think it's going to happen," Ms. Foard said after visiting Town Hall to talk with staff about the market's future. The path forward goes through the town's planning department and the Planning Commission, and an effort is already under way.

In a message to resident Laura Diamondstone provided to the Almanac, Woodside Town Manager Kevin Bryant noted that the Town Council meets on every second and fourth Tuesday evening, the August recess excepted, and would welcome comments from residents. The town has an obligation to enforce the rules in the municipal code "as they are written," he added.

"I didn't look into my conditional use permit before I OK'd it," said property owner and Mountain Terrace partner Bisher Khalas. "We don't profit from it. ... Hopefully, they can figure out a way to do it. I'm not asking anyone to do anything outside the law. I think everybody involved would like to work something out."