By Jason KUROSU
Fees for Harvest Market vendors will be raised in order to comply with AB 1871, which would punish false advertising at farmers’ markets. The bill is intended to ensure vendors are selling products they actually grew and penalize those who misrepresent their food as “California Grown.”
Harvest Market Manager Mark Sheridan announced the raise at Thursday’s Montrose Shopping Park Association meeting, which increased vendor fees from $45 to $50, set to go into effect Feb. 1. The fee does not affect nonprofits involved in the market. MSPA board members said that it is the first fee raise for vendors in three years. Money from the fee raised will go towards hiring new state inspectors.
Sheridan said there were 1,000 such violations found last year by advertising commissioners, with most of the violations in Los Angeles County.
Vendors will also be required to post signs that state the farmer ranch name and county of production, as well as a statement that the vendor grew what they are selling.
Sheridan said the regulations were important for farmers’ markets to “retain their integrity.”
The MSPA also plans to add more children’s activities to the Harvest Market with some educational opportunities for children on Sundays.
Other topics that were discussed at the MSPA meeting included the recent opening of a Sunday night community theater. Actor and longtime Montrose resident Al Pugliese introduced his concept of the theater to the MSPA board Thursday morning. The theater is located at Montrose Martial Arts on Honolulu Avenue and hosted its first open mic night on Sunday, Jan. 11.
Pugliese teamed with Montrose Martial Arts after attending tai chi classes there for herniated disks in his neck and back. Pugliese said that the partnership with Montrose Martial Arts was “a perfect marriage for bringing in both professional people and audiences into Montrose,” and said that the theater could help attract members of the acting community to Montrose and the many different services that apply to the entertainment industry, including those of Montrose Martial Arts. Pugliese also wants to eventually expand performances into street theatre during Sunday’s Harvest Market.
In other news, the Friends of Rockhaven will be offering a tour of the grounds for the merchants of Montrose on January. Tours are available for members of the public, but Friends of Rockhaven President Joanna Linkchorst said this was a special tour for working people who may not get a chance otherwise. More information on tours is available at friendsofrockhaven.org.