The Yard Farmers & Ranchers Market will vacate the premises at The Yard, 5300 McCullough Ave., at some point in the near future. There are several reasons involved, including a dispute this past Sunday that reportedly escalated into racial overtones.
Also, parking problems have been an issue at The Yard. Before moving to the McCullough location, the farmers market had been a Sunday fixture at the Alamo Quarry shopping center, but it was asked to leave a few months ago, reportedly due to parking issues there.
The owners of The Yard Farmers & Ranchers Market, F. David Lent and Heather Hunter, argued with the owners of Ming’s Things food stand, Ming Qian and Hinnark von Bargen.
Hunter characterized the argument as as heated words between people who had been friends and colleagues. It began when von Bargen and Qian announced they’d be moving their stand to the new Sunday farmers market at the Pearl Brewery, which opens this coming Sunday.
While The Yard Farmers & Ranchers Market has a 90-day option to stay at The Yard, that may or may not happen, according to Hunter. The Lent/Hunter farmers market has been a successful operation for four years.
The following note was posted on Facebook by Lent and Hunter:
“To all of our loyal customers, market members and followers. This past week has been truly challenging for us as we continue the fight to bring locally grown foods and sustainability to the San Antonio community.
“An unfortunate exchange took place after last Sunday’s market, which we deeply regret. Although it was an isolated incident between long-time business associates and dear friends, the brief altercation has been exaggerated and manipulated in the media.
“From a personal and business disagreement, sadly, this has the potential to have negative impact on the market members who have had no part in this situation.
“We personally have many friends and associates from all ethnicities and wholeheartedly embrace cultural diversity. We lived in Mexico for over five years and have traveled extensively in many countries not as tourists, but as cultural travelers and very much respect the differences and celebrate our commonalities.
“We greatly appreciate all of the support we have received for the market in this difficult situation. As for the future of our farmers market, we are evaluating at this point and ask for your continued support and patience.”
Speaking on the matter Thursday, Hunter emphasized that though a number of vendors will be moving to the Pearl Farmers Market, they still have the “full support of 25 steadfast vendors.”
Hunter and Lent will be considering their options in the weeks and months to come and didn’t wish to discuss their eventual plans either way – to close up shop or stay with their commitment to bring healthy food, produce and products to San Antonio customers they’ve served for the past four years.