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  • Supervisors approve three-year contract for farmers markets at Rillito Regional Park

    Oct 08, 2014 | Read More News
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    The Pima County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a three-year contract with Heirloom Farmers Markets to conduct farmers markets at Rillito Regional Park, 4502 N. First Ave.

    Heirloom farmers marketThe Heirloom farmers market at Rillito Regional Park has grown to become the largest year-round farmers market in Southern Arizona since it launched with a temporary permit from the County in early July.

    Manish Shah, Heirloom’s co-executive director, said the farmers market has attracted about 70 vendors and about 1,500 shoppers to Rillito Regional Park on Sunday mornings.

    He anticipates having 80 vendors in early November, when the farmers market will be open on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and as many as 90 in January.

    On Sunday, Nov. 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Heirloom is presenting the Viva La Local Food Festival, with more than 80 vendors, more than 30 local restaurants, local beer and wine, and live music at Rillito Regional Park.

    Heirloom farmers marketShah started out as a tea vendor at a Tucson farmers market in 1997 and went on to manage the farmers market at St. Philip’s Plaza for 12 years before forming the Heirloom nonprofit and connecting with Pima County.

    Heirloom also operates farmers markets at Jesse Owens Park, 400 S. Sarnoff, on Friday mornings and at Steam Pump Ranch in Oro Valley on Saturday mornings.

    Pima County has been constructing an open pavilion for farmers markets at Rillito Regional Park since August. The pavilion in the southeast corner of the park includes a 12-foot-wide paved path about 600 feet long with three 110-foot-long ramadas to shade shoppers. Vendors will set up in gravel areas along the paved pathway.

    “It’s 600 feet of flavor,” Shah said. “You get to taste the best of the best of local food.”

    Plus the farmers market is right next to The Loop shared-use path.

    Rillito Regional Park pavilion“You literally can go for a walk and come back and buy your food,” Shah said.

    The County is also constructing a restroom for visitors to the farmers market and for Loop users. The pavilion is expected to be completed in early November.

    During the first year of operation, Heirloom will pay the County $300 or 12 percent of gross revenues from space rentals and other activities, whichever is greater, for each daily farmers market session. The payment will increase to $400 or 12 percent of gross revenues at the beginning of the contract’s second year.

    For more information about the farmers markets, please visit