Sorry, Oaklanders: CUESA Executive Director Marcy Coburn can't promise to give Jack London Square its very own Goatchella. But there are plenty other positive developments on offer now that CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) has taken over the management of Jack London Square's weekly farmers' market, held year-round on Sundays from 9AM to 2PM.
This Sunday, Oct. 30, CUESA is throwing a free Harvest Festival, rain or shine, to celebrate the seasonal bounty of the market's 40-plus vendors. It will be a pumpkin-filled debutante party trumpeting the market's new management to those in the neighborhood who may not have noticed, and to encourage East Bay denizens from all over to make the waterside trek to check it out.
The Harvest Festival--which will happen even if umbrellas are necessary--has lots of kid-friendly things, from mini-pumpkin decorating to DIY apple cider pressing and seed ball making. There's even a pie contest judged by the likes of Mani Niall, chef-owner of Sweet Bar Bakery, Margo True, food editor of Sunset magazine, and Meg Ray, owner of Miette, among others.
Recently, we caught up with Coburn to find out what CUESA is bringing to the market, now that they've been in charge since May 2016. Previously, the market had been run by the Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association, which runs over 60 markets around the Bay Area. But when ownership of the Jack London Square development changed hands this year, there was a mutual reaching out between the CIM Group, the new owners, and the staff at CUESA, to discuss a partnership.
For CUESA, it was a strategic step, part of a long-range plan of slow but thoughtful growth beyond the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, the widely renowned market that has drawn locals and tourists alike to the eastern edge of the City since 1993. The Jack London Square farmers market has an even longer history--a farmers market has been in operation there for 28 years, but it remains a much lesser known market than, say, the Temescal, Grand Lake, or Old Oakland markets, which collectively draw the largest Oakland crowds.