Why Hollywood Farmers Market closure cost sellers $175,000

On Sunday, employees from one of Los Angeles’ top bakeries unexpectedly had to move more than 300 loaves of bread plus six sheets of focaccia off a farmers market counter, but Andy Kadin of Bub and Grandma’s reckons he’s lucky. lucky. It could get worse.

That morning, a man shot a gun and throwing items from the balcony of an apartment building in Hollywood shut one of LA’s oldest and largest farmers markets for the day, costing farmers and grocers about $175,000 in damages. No one was injured, and the suspect, 42-year-old Joseph De La Cruz, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, was charged with seven counts, including felony firearm possession and illegal possession of ammunition.

The event marked the first closure in the Hollywood Farmers Market’s more than 30-year history. One-day losses resulted in thousands of pounds of unsold product and left suppliers scrambling to recoup the sales they depended on every Sunday. After his hiccups, Kadin estimates he lost $2,000 in bread sales; His particular scramble involved reaching out to several food donation organizations to eliminate unnecessary food waste.

“I think the most important thing, besides making sure everyone is okay, is of course making sure that the food we have is not wasted,” Kadin said. “It’s the #1 thing for us: As long as we’re up and running and can pay salaries and rent, I don’t particularly care where the bread goes, as long as we get it there”.

Two Kadin employees showed up on Sunday and heard gunshots just 15 minutes after Bub and Mrs.’s unloading began. After being instructed to flee, they hid in the bread cart for about 45 minutes, unsure if it was safe to show up, before leaving the market and heading back to the bakery.

Half of sales at Bub and Grandma’s Hollywood Farmers Market are pre-orders; on Sunday, Kadin refunded all pre-sale orders – about $3,000 – and immediately contacted some of the bakery’s restaurants, corner stores and other retailers that served his loaf of bread.

“Those are products that we are selling at retail prices at the market that we then have to wholesale, 30% to 40% less than what we would do in the market, which is obviously a big deal. bargain,” said Kadin. “And even with that, we’re just offsetting $800 worth $3,000 of the normal market.”

Normally, the Hollywood Farmers Market is closed only during major holidays, said Elizabeth Bowman, farm market executive and interim executive director of Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA), who has worked for the parent organization of Hollywood Farmers Markets for about a decade and helps manage six markets. It was also closed at the height of the pandemic.

“We’ve been in all sorts of situations with people – it’s just the nature of being out on the street and in Hollywood,” she said. “We go to the market and look for anything and everything on this street [like] drug injection equipment. We carry kitten droppings when we are setting up a market to cover human and animal feces and other odors. It’s really not uncommon to walk into a bit of a commotion, and so I can imagine that if the person throws things and things, that’s not necessarily too alarming. “

The first SEE-LA employee arrived around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday morning to erect roadblocks; The rest of the group usually shows up an hour later to clear the way and the retail sellers come in to set up shop. It wasn’t until the workers heard gunshots around 7:30 a.m. that they started acting differently.

Bowman said the team on site that day immediately began instructing vendors to close their stalls and have shoppers and sellers evacuate the facility, which was also the directive from LAPD. At the height of the summer harvest, last weekend’s market was even more crowded than usual; some people who only specialize in summer production, especially rely on farmers’ markets for income.

SEE-LA receives a percentage of vendor sales each week towards operating fees. Based on reports the previous Sunday and what they gathered this week, Bowman estimated total lost revenue of about $175,000 from more than 250 suppliers – and losses of $16,000 to $17,000 for her owner – only counting the closing on Sundays.

To help make up for those losses, SEE-LA has launched an online fundraiser this week to benefit market farmers and other suppliers as well as SEE-LA; At press time, $6,295 has been raised from a $150,000 goal.

Finley Farms co-owner Christopher Finley says his family has been selling at the Hollywood Farmers Market almost every Sunday for more than 16 years – and in that time, they’ve never experienced a closed market. Serious door like this. The farm lost $4,000 in total revenue, but Finely says they all just feel lucky that no one was hurt.

On Sunday, Brandon Finley, Christopher’s brother, left the farm in Santa Ynez around 4 a.m. to drive what Christopher estimated were 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of heirloom, cherry and Early Girl tomatoes; many varieties of lettuce; four types of melons; three types of onions; Cucumber; zucchini; black berries; strawberry; raspberry and more to Hollywood, as he does every week. He set up a stall, which could only sell for 30 minutes, then was told to pack up to evacuate – and immediately drove back to the farm more than three-quarters of their way, losing money. gasoline on the date of sale. .

Christopher Finley said: “We’ve had a really nice load of different products, new products coming out, so I’m looking forward to it being like, ‘Okay, it’s finally coming. we also have some monetization – oh wait, never mind. “

Farmers’ markets make up 75% of Finley Farms’ business, with the Hollywood Farmers Market being one of four weekly markets it sells through, in addition to wholesale restaurant accounts and operating a small farm stand on the land. mine in Santa Ynez. That ranch stall became Finleys’ savings grace this week, where many of last Sunday’s merchandise were sold to shoppers who dropped in on Sundays and Mondays.

“My wife and I have set up our farm right in our house, and with [the closure] In mind, we started playing poor cards for our customers to show,” he said. “We said, ‘Our market in Hollywood was canceled because some guy was shooting on his balcony; Today is a great day to make pasta, you should definitely understand the San Marzanos case that you always ask about, and, “You should make pickles with pickled cucumbers.”

Finns feel lucky to be able to run their own businesses, if not partially compensate for the financial loss, then at least be able to do their job well.

An eight-man harvest team worked 10 and a half hours on Saturday harvesting produce for the Sunday market, picking on the 70-acre farm throughout the day, then loading it into trucks in the evening.

“We weren’t able to sell everything we got back from the Hollywood market,” says Christopher Finely, “but we made a pretty big dent. It is just what it is, and so you just forget about it and move forward. “This weekend, they are uncertain about what the market’s voter base will be – whether shoppers will be scared off by Sunday’s close or will run out of strength to support. Either way, Bowman said, the vendors at the Hollywood Farmers Market will be back and waiting for them.

https://www.latimes.com/food/story/2022-08-06/hollywood-farmers-market-closure-cost-farmers-and-food-vendors-175-000-dollars Why Hollywood Farmers Market closure cost sellers $175,000

Russell Falcon

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