Doral’s long-standing farmers market is in jeopardy.
On Wednesday, council members will discuss an ordinance at first reading, that depending on the vote, can affect the market, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays on Northwest 97th Avenue and 41st Street in the Doral Centre plaza’s parking lots.
Sunday, residents protested and passed around petitions, calling on city council members to vote “no” on the new law. The measure would require all outdoor markets to set up 500 feet from 41st Street/Doral Boulevard, thus eliminating the current market.
During Sunday’s protest, Mayor Luigi Boria and council members Pete Cabrera and Christi Fraga separately passed by. Boria and Fraga said they would support the market; Cabrera, however, said it needs a lot of work.
“I definitely support the farmers market,” Cabrera said. “But my concern is real simple: aesthetics. I don’t think white tents with big banners on Doral Boulevard is what we planned for in our master plan. It looks like a flea market, not a farmers market.”
The market has special meaning for 26-year-old Danny Kaskel, who manages it. His grandparents, Doris and Alfred Kaskel, were the founders of Doral. They coined the name “Doral” by combining their first names. Since then, generations of the Kaskel family have been active in the Doral community.
“This really means a lot to me,’’ Kaskel said. “Alfred [his great-grandfather] so long ago stressed community building, way before the city was even incorporated. A farmers market is the perfect setting for that. I’m trying to vicariously live through his vision and his dream.’’
The market, which began in October 2013, is Doral’s oldest.
“We were rockin’ and rollin’ at the beginning. On day one we had 11 vendors. Two weeks later we had 33. All until the council proposed the ordinance in December, which has made vendors uneasy to stay,” he said.
Cabrera said he “likes the farmers market, just not at that location.” He said he is trying to work with Kaskel but would like to see the market pushed back from the street view. He also would prefer to see the tents blend in more, “perhaps a bronze to not stand out as much.”
“I care about what is under the tent, not on top,” he said. “This is a community endeavor. The farmers market — in the heart of the city — creates a focal gathering point where residents can meet neighbors, discuss healthy eating habits, and even get the opportunity to sell their ideas at a grand social gathering.”