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Food trucks out, farmers' market in
June 08, 2012, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal staff

Last year, Off the Grid held a gourmet food truck event Monday nights in downtown San Mateo that was generally viewed as a hit by city officials.

The Downtown San Mateo Association invited Off the Grid back this summer for a second year but the city decided it wanted to seek at least 10 more proposals from other vendors which made Off the Grid decide it was done with San Mateo, at least for now.

The city did not get 10 proposals, instead it only got two and one of them, Moveable Feast, withdrew itself from consideration yesterday, Moveable Feast’s Ryan Sebastian told the Daily Journal.

The only proposal left the city had to consider was from Urban Table, which conducts a farmers’ market at the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot in San Mateo Sunday mornings.

Yesterday, the DSMA awarded the Monday night event to Urban Table, which will bring a hybrid farmers’ market to the downtown Caltrain station with a complement of food trucks, said DSMA Executive Director Jessica Evans, who just took the job last week.

Moveable Feast had Friday night events last year at the San Mateo County Event Center but is now working to put the event together on Wednesdays, Sebastian said.

Sebastian said, however, that even if the city did pick Moveable Feast’s proposal it might not have moved forward since the downtown Caltrain station location has its "drawbacks.”

Off the Grid founder Matt Cohen told the city last week his mobile-food extravaganza was not coming back to downtown because the "location wasn’t working.”

"Matt Cohen is a smart guy and he declined to renew for a reason,” Sebastian told the Daily Journal.

Moveable Feast will transform its First Friday events at the Event Center into a weekly event every Wednesday called San Mateo Night Market starting June 27.

Moveable Feast will work with Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association on the Wednesday night events, Sebastian said.

"We are really excited about it,” he said.

Urban Table’s Monday night event will be similar to Moveable Feast’s Wednesday night event, but the DSMA’s Evans thinks there is room enough for both to operate in San Mateo.

Moveable Feast conducts events mostly in Santa Clara County while Off the Grid has several events a week in San Francisco where multiple food truck vendors assemble including Chairman Mao, Naked Chorizo, Cheese Gone Wild, Curry Up Now, Mama’s Empanadas and Whisk on Wheels.

Many of the same vendors contract with both companies.

Urban Table Farmers’ Markets is a nonprofit organization that establishes farmers’ markets in the Bay Area.

Urban Table’s focus is supporting a sustainable food system by providing city dwellers access to local, seasonal and sustainably raised foods from small regional farmers.


Bill Silverfarb can be reached by email: silverfarb@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.


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