Huntington Beach Neighborhood Loses Link to More Healthful Eating

Nick Gerda, VOICE OF OC Archive

A shopper selects some grapes at a farmer's market in Huntington Beach. 

After a year of offering fresh fruits and vegetables to the low-income community of Oak View in Huntington Beach, the HB Mercado Certified Farmer’s Market will close in June, its organizers said.

“We are going on a pause,” said Iosefa Alofaituli, executive director of the Oak View Renewal Partnership, a nonprofit organization that launched the Saturday market at Ocean View High School.

The goal was to provide affordable, high-quality produce to the Oak View community. However, farmers’ markets are difficult to sustain – especially in low-income areas, experts say –unless they can attract reliably large crowds to guarantee profits for produce vendors.

Organizers sought to bring in Mexican culinary favorites such as serrano peppers and enabled customers to pay with public assistance funds, but HB Mercado still fell prey to market forces.

The partnership hasn’t abandoned hopes of bringing more nutritious offerings to Oak View residents and later may set up some produce stands in front of the high school.

“We were using this first year as a pilot,” Alofaituli said.