Updated 6/22: The Los Altos Farmers’ Market will return Thursday after a one week hiatus, according to the Los Altos Village Association. LAVA, which hosts the market, canceled it last week after taking issue with the California Farmers’ Market Association’s handling of an incident involving a vendor at the Livermore Farmers’ Market earlier this month.
“LAVA had a meeting with the Farmers’ Market operator," LAVA said in a statement on Monday. "The market will return this Thursday. Please support the vendors that bring us wonderful produce.”
The CFMA, which also operates the Los Altos Farmers’ Market, stepped down as the manager of Livermore’s market after the June 7 incident, in which CFMA Executive Director Gail Hayden allegedly told a vendor at the market and the executive director of Livermore Pride to stop handing out rainbow flags for LGBTQ Pride Month because it was a violation of CFMA policy. A video of the incident went viral on social media.
CFMA marketing manager Kayla Hayden disputed the account, saying, "We did not stop Gay Pride from distributing flags. We asked them to sign a hold harmless agreement and when they denied, we asked them to distribute the flags in the free speech area."
In a memo, LAVA President Mark Rogge wrote that the organization’s board of directors voted unanimously at a meeting last week to “pause” the Farmers’ Market until they could discuss the matter with CFMA and explore options for other operators.
“We expressed sorrow over missing tomorrow’s Farmers’ Market, and for any hardship on the vendors,” Rogge wrote. “But we stand in support of the vendors and cannot condone having them mistreated by the operator.”
Scott Hunter, LAVA executive director, echoed Rogge’s sentiments.
“We want to bring a farmers’ market to the downtown that everybody loves and doesn’t have these distractions,” he said. “We don’t condone discrimination – there’s no place for that here.”
"We do not discriminate," Kayla Hayden said. "We invite everyone and every group to use our free speech area, especially at the Los Altos Farmers' Market that I personally run."
In a statement last week, Gail Hayden apologized for the incident and said that the CFMA recognizes that the Pride flag is not a political ideology.
"We promise to affirm our partnerships with this community by bringing farmers’ markets filled with their positive participation, their produce, farm products and food creations," Hayden said.
The seasonal Los Altos Farmers’ Market usually runs 4-8 p.m. Thursdays from May through September, this year with added crowd-control and safety precautions due to the pandemic.