Every Sunday afternoon, right in the center of town, the Doral Farmers Market brightens Doral Blvd. Temporary white tents are offset by a luscious rainbow of local farmers’ and artisans’ products. Small children run around a life-sized chess board while their parents catch up on local gossip and shop for fresh produce. Everything seems perfectly picturesque at the farmers market… to us.
Doral’s government doesn’t feel the same way. On Wednesday, January 28, city council deferred an ordinance that would prohibit markets on Doral Blvd, subsequently forcing the farmers market out of its location.
But according to market manager George Mauro, location is everything. One of the most important things a farmers market can provide is a place for the community to gather. “[W]e want this farmer’s market to be a gathering point so that the community can… socialize, meet their neighbors, share ideas,” he tells us. If the market gets moved off the main road and into a town corner, it won’t be appreciated or even noticed. Many local artisans will lose their publicity, and fresh, healthy produce will become less readily available to those who want it.
In many other Dade County cities like Coral Gables and Pinecrest, “the city supports farmers market[s], they close the road… they’re located in the heart of the city so that the people can appreciate the farmers market.” Mauro and Danny Kaskel, who manage the market in tandem, are working on negotiating a display that the city deems presentable enough. The council will allow the market to stay if it complies with a few decidedly petty requirements, including uniformity of tents. The managers are working on expanding the market’s reach and gaining more support for the future.