The Quarry Farmers Market will move to its new home at The Yard on McCullough Avenue next week. The news marking the creation of The Yard Farmers and Ranchers Market was announced by owners David Lent and Heather Hunter to their vendors at the last market at the Quarry earlier today.
The impetus for the move is still quite controversial. American Assets Trust, corporate owner of the Quarry, evicted the market late last month, citing parking concerns from existing anchor tenants.
That has led some to speculate that the only tenant open on Sunday mornings, Whole Foods, may have pushed out the market to reduce sales competition. It’s unclear if the presence of the market would take customers from or deliver them to Whole Foods, but since many seasonal products overlap, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that executives would target the market to boost sales.
Whole Foods did little to quell those rumors, given its refusal to comment on the story. The company’s only response on record was directly to David Lent, in which it did not mention the market’s eviction or its role in it, instead promising to continue to have local tasting events at the Quarry location for Whole Foods products.
If the market owners are still frustrated by their treatment at the hands of the Quarry or Whole Foods’ corporate offices, they didn’t mention it on Sunday, but their decision to house the market at The Yard is telling given the contrast with the Quarry.
Lent reported that the space is much more community-oriented, with a growing emphasis on food.
Current tenants of The Yard include Olmos Perk, Yaya’s Thai Restaurant, and Urth Juice Bar. There are likely to be real synergies developing as the Farmers Market moves in, much like the collaboration between many of the restaurants at the Pearl and the farmers that sell at the market there.
“I just can’t wait. We have always wanted a farmers market at The Yard, and now the community delivered one of the best ones in San Antonio to our doorstep,” said Elsa Alonzo, owner of Urth. “It’ll be more profitable for everyone in the complex while it builds our community.”
Alonzo also remarked on other newcomers to the complex, including a wine bar, Alberico, which will be moving in soon, as well as an incoming tequila bar.
Proponents of the decision should thank Diego Galicia of Mezcalería Mixtli, who contacted Lent and Hunter to recommend the new location. Mixtli is the Mezcalería’s sister restaurant at The Yard offering an interesting twist to customers. It serves only 12 guests with a constantly changing menu to show off the full culinary diversity of Mexico. Menu items bought directly from farmers and ranchers are bound to appear on the exciting menus.
The market itself will take place in the back of the complex, close to Mixtli’s home, and parking will be available in the front. Lent estimated that the available parking for the new location is equal to the Quarry’s capacity.
Market hours will stay the same, opening at 9 a.m. Sunday mornings and running until 1 p.m., but the experience of the market is bound to change. The area surrounding it is far more residential, and the surrouding businesses are more independent.
The new address is 5300 McCullough Ave. For weekly attendees who depend on products like grass-fed beef from Koch Ranches or their seasonal produce from Engel Farms, Sunday will reveal how their weekend ritual will feel at its new home. I tend to agree with Lent about the move.
“This is just the beginning,” he said with a smile.
*Featured/top image: Vendors line the parking lot of the Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market. Photo by Scott Ball.
This story was originally published on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014.