Hillcrest Farmers Market extends to University Ave gaining 30 percent more space; offers expanded free parking and trolley service starting April 7
By Anulak Singphiphat | SDUN Staff Reporter
The Hillcrest Farmers Market will soon be changing its footprint, as organizers plan for an expansion that will potentially afford more selection for market goers.
Currently located between Lincoln Avenue and Harvey Milk Street on Normal Street, it will be expanding south to University Avenue, signaling another growth for the popular Sunday market. The changes start April 7.
“We have been anticipating changes to the market for a while now,” said Lisa Weir, Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) marketing and communications director. The HBA said the changes are expected to be permanent.
The Market first opened in April 1997 with 35 vendors in the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Hillcrest parking lot and soon expanded onto Normal Street. Now in its 16th year, it currently consists of 140 vendors, with approximately 125 vendors lining the west side of the median on Normal Street on any given Sunday.
Decision to expand the market area was motivated by possible DMV renovations and development. While the renovations are currently delayed, the HBA continued forward with changes.
“The HBA has been working alongside our Market Manager David Larson and with the City to ensure the proper permitting and notifications, and responding to the market’s increasing parking demands,” Weir said, adding that the HBA is enthusiastic about the move to University Avenue.
“This means that the flow of the market will be even closer to the business district and we expect our member businesses to feel an even bigger impact of neighborhood patrons,” she said.
The most notable change will be the expansion of the market area to one of Hillcrest’s busiest streets, which Weir said would increase available space by 30 percent. Organizers are expecting to add approximately 50 additional vendor spaces.
“Folks coming into the market will have the same quality of vendors they’re used to at the Hillcrest Farmers Market, but just more of them,” Weir said. “Some vendors are monthly or every other week, which also allows for a wide variety of shopping options from week to week.”
The Farmers Market offers fresh produce grown by local farmers, but also prepared foods with an emphasis on international cuisine, gifts and handmade specialty items, guest chef cooking instructions and entertainment from local bands.
The expansion plan also includes free parking at the San Diego Unified School District parking lot located at 4207 Campus Ave. in nearby University Heights. There will be over 300 available spaces from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. starting April 7. Patrons are asked to enter on the Campus Avenue side of the lot, near Washington Street.
There will also be a free trolley running during parking hours that will take patrons from the lot to the market, stopping at the intersection of Normal and Harvey Milk streets and then again near University and Fifth avenues before going back to the parking lot.
“With the addition of a Sunday trolley route, market patrons can take the trolley into the heart of the business district on Fifth Avenue before heading back to the School District lot or the market itself,” Weir said. “The trolley provides a wonderful opportunity to explore all the offerings that Hillcrest provides.”
Market hours are from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. each Sunday. For more information about the market or the expansion, visit hillcrestfarmersmarket.com or call the HBA at 619-299-3330.
“You can explore the sights, tastes and sounds with colorful displays, free samples, and live music,” Weir said. “Coming to the market is a colorful and nourishing event every Sunday.”