[Source: Arizona Republic editorial board] — A hallmark of a flourishing, mature metropolis is when it begins spawning institutions reflecting local culture. A glitzy mall is great, but a funky, thriving Mill Avenue in Tempe is something unique the locals can cherish. It is fun, busy and ours.
The same is true of a central “farmers market” dedicated to local produce. Virtually all major urban centers have a market featuring locally grown produce, baked goods, meats and dairy products. Until recently, all Phoenix could muster was a part-time farmers market where local producers huddled against the elements in tents. Now, it has the real deal.
The Phoenix Public Market Urban Grocery and Wine Bar opened last week with fragrant, organic Arizona-grown produce in abundance. It offers a charming, multiroom environment at 14 E. Pierce St., the first permanent market to open its doors in the central city in 30 years.
The market is the realization of a long-time dream of Director Cindy Gentry and the board of the Community Food Connections, the non-profit group that raised $530,000 to make it happen. Their persistence and determination is admirable. And, if the enormous crowds from Saturday are any indication, they are prescient, as well. Metro Phoenix desperately needed a market like this, and it is gratifying to see it come to pass.
The co-op-like Phoenix Public Market, which operates in front of the permanent market along North Central Avenue near Fillmore, will continue as before on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Meanwhile, the permanent store will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays. The market has been a long time coming. With luck and quality local products, it will be there for a long time to come.