Studio City Farmers Market Vendors Take ‘Wait and See’ Attitude About New Manager

Some speak out at the new Sherman Oaks Farmers Market, but others are afraid to speak.

Some of the vendors at the new Sherman Oaks Community Farmers Markets who also sell their wares at the t said they are taking a “wait and see” attitude about the newly-named manager Melody Dosch.

More than a dozen vendors who also come regularly to the Studio City Farmers Market—including the team that puts up the inflatable slide for the children—appeared at the opening of the new market at the Sherman Oaks Galleria parking lot on Saturday. At least three vendors were hesitant to speak on the record about their feelings about former manager from the job in Studio City, because they said they were worried about not being invited to sell anymore.

Dosch told Patch that those fears are unfounded and that there are absolutely no major changes planned for the existing vendors. She said she expressly met with each vendor and sent letters to them explaining that she’d like them to stay. She said she hopes to quell any such fears that the vendors may have as she transitions into the job over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, Gallegos was busy running around the much smaller farmers market in Sherman Oaks, making sure people didn’t bring their dogs into the area and greeting familiar faces, Los Angeles Police officers and a representative from Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian’s office. (Patch also has a booth there for opening day, with Sherman Oaks Patch editor Doug Kriegel.)

“A few of the shoppers told me that they don’t want to go back to Studio City’s market, and that is too bad,” Gallegos said. “And for a first day, and with overcast weather, we have had a great turnout.”

Hector Venegas, of V-Flowers, wakes up his nephew, Kevin, and his wife, Josie, at 2 a.m. to pack up their truck with flowers in Nipomo, Calif. (near Pismo Beach) to come down to the Los Angeles area markets. He said he was very upset about the change in management with the Studio City Farmers Market because it’s where his best sales take place.

He distributes his home-grown flowers (no greenhouses, all outdoors), to 15 farmers markets, (including the much larger Hollywood Farmers Market and this new Sherman Oaks one), but Studio City is tops.

“I am very, very, very concerned,” Venegas said. “Carole handled the market in a very professional way, and I am concerned that it looks like a volunteer board is taking it over.” (Although Dosch was previously on the volunteer board overseeing the market, she has restaurant experience since she opened the Artisan Cheese Gallery and has legal experience.)

“It is not easy to run a farmers market,” Venegas said. “I have met Melody two times and there is no way to see how she will do with it after meeting her on only two occasions, but I hope she is as professional. This is an unknown for me and for my family, so we are concerned. This is what I do for a living.”

Venegas said he appreciates the Studio City customers, who like to have flowers around their homes. “The people in Studio City are very nice, they are very loyal, and they like flowers,” he said. “I want to stay there.”

Brothers Mo and Malik Azouz, who help with their father’s homemade hummus business, said they were saddened by the news of Gallegos leaving Studio City’s market.

“It is heartbreaking,” said Mo. “I know my father and all our family have been working with her for 10 years, and it is sad to see her treated this way.”

Malik added, “We love working with Carole.”

Dave Kim, who owns Dave’s Gourmet, Korean Kitchen said, “I asked ‘What happened?’ and was told that they voted and she was no longer there, and I was shocked and told her I thought she was a nice lady. They told me that  ‘We will see you there at Studio City, and that is good,’ but I do hope that it will not be strange. I will miss her a lot and I hope the new management comes up to be like her. . . .  She did a wonderful job. I expect it to be running just as good.”

And, Edgar Flores, of Buenrostro Farms, said he has been selling his assorted Romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, snap peas and more for two years at Studio City Farmers Market. He wonders if now is the time to take a break from there, and focus on just one market, and right now he’s in Sherman Oaks. “Sunday is my day off, after all,” he smiled.

One Studio City resident, who asked not to be identified, said he volunteered at the Studio City market with Gallegos, sitting at the staff table, and even doing some of the paperwork. He said he had noticed slight changes in the market over the past few months, but never saw it coming that Gallegos would be let go.

“I just don’t want to see a war between markets,” he said. “That wouldn’t be good for anyone.”

Meanwhile, Gallegos said there are some differences between what she did at Studio City. She will not have craft booths, like they had with local artists in Studio City. She has a bit of a smaller area in Sherman Oaks.

Would she come back to Studio City?

“If they wanted me, I would go back,” Gallegos said. “Yes, I would go back.”

Meanwhile, there is discussion about a planned rally at the  at 11 a.m. April 10 to get Gallegos’s job back. She is billed as one of the attendees. (EDITOR'S NOTE: This event has been canceled.)

“No, I think I will steer clear of that,” Gallegos said. “I won’t be attending.”

Jack McGrath April 03, 2011 at 09:30 AM
josh milne April 03, 2011 at 08:36 PM
I a student of north Hollywood high school think the community is saying that if no except one or two people wanted her gone shouldn’t the majority rule and she should be brought back. Why even fire her or put her some where else in the first place.
Andrew Lepore April 03, 2011 at 08:39 PM
What has happened to Carole is a very sad thing because she is such a wonderful lady. she helped our school north Hollywood high school in our fund raiser for saving the barn by letting us put up a booth to let us get the word out and collect some donations. The students who did help with that fund raiser are very sad and disappointed that a kind caring lady like that would be fired from a job she was so wonderful at.
stacey guiterrez April 03, 2011 at 08:42 PM
I a student of North Hollywood High School think that this is an injustice she was so helpful in our fund raising and I have heard no bad things about her. Why fire someone who is friendly and brings in happy friendly safe people into a farmers market.
christopher aceitune April 03, 2011 at 08:45 PM
I a North Hollywood High School student say who would let this happen and what kind of person would even think of doing this. if something is going good and shows any decline in any good traits why stop it or mess with it why not enjoy it.
edwin palma April 03, 2011 at 08:50 PM
I think that the petting zoo she helped raise money and awareness for went so well and it was so fun for the people who came to look at what we have and even for the people who helped work it.
trevor hendershott April 03, 2011 at 08:56 PM
I a North Hollywood High School student think that this is awful who in their right mind would get a hard working helpful kind and caring person fired. I believe that there isn’t any justice for Carole until she gets her position back which she would take back and things would go back to normal
Larry Van Nuys April 05, 2011 at 04:42 AM
I a product of the LA Unified School District am appalled at the previous letter from a "high school" student. Grammar anyone? Complete thoughts? Punctuation perhaps?
Mk April 05, 2011 at 03:37 PM
Oh my God! I completely agree with the woman who posted the message regarding the punctuation and grammer of these opinions. Why is it that no one seems to be able to form a clear and comprehensive sentence? The teachers at North Hollywood High School should be ashamed as should the parents of these students. I admire the kids for speaking out, and in such a supportive way but, seriously, someone please help our youth!
deb April 06, 2011 at 12:33 AM
I agree about the punctuation/grammar above, yikes. But I must say, I am confused about all the fuss. Do any of us fuss when the manager is changed at our local supermarket? How many of us, consumers not vendors, even knew who was running the Studio City Market? Why does a change in leadership have to be seen as a horrible act of firing? Isn't it possible they really did just want to change things up a bit, get some fresh thinking in Studio City? It appears Carol has a new job running the Sherman Oaks Market, she has landed well, why must this be handled and interpreted in such a litigious way? I enjoy the Studio City Market, but do feel like it could be "freshened up" and I am excited to have a Sherman Oaks Sunday Market as well...I will reserve judgement on the new management in Studio City, until I have seen what they have in store. I wish everyone else would do the same.
antonia j April 06, 2011 at 08:54 PM
my fiancé and i so enjoy perusing the studio city farmer's market on sunday mornings. we regularly purchase our fruits, vegetables, grass-fed beef, flowers, and many delightful condiments on our weekly excursion to the market. we have always been sure to find carol gallegos for a warm welcoming hello and a quick update on new vendors or particularly tasty products of the day. i will continue to support the vendors at studio city farmer's market but at the same time, i plan on making sherman oaks a part of my week because carol is just worth going out of my way to see!
antonia j April 06, 2011 at 10:09 PM
p.s. : punctuation and grammar police: i never use caps! ;-)
Larry Van Nuys April 06, 2011 at 10:39 PM
Did you notice that all the "comments" from the North Hollywood students began with the same exact ungrammatical beginning: "I a North Hollywood High School student think..." Coincidence? I think not. Someone at NHHS is trying a civics lesson with their students. Hmmmmmmmm
deb April 06, 2011 at 10:53 PM
Jack: Your beef sure sounds personal, rather than politically sound. It appears you have an issue with the new director who you continue to malign by name, I didn't even mention her, as she is new. I will reserve judgement till I have experience to base my opinions upon. As far as the community groups at the market, it is my understanding that they are there all the time, and any community group that wants to be at the market just has to fill out an application which is available on the farmer's market website. I saw a couple of groups there this sunday, so I don't really see how you can give Carol personal credit for that? Regardless, enough of the name calling...let's all hope for two GREAT markets in our neighborhood.
Andrew Lepore April 07, 2011 at 02:54 AM
Ok to all the people that are criticizing the students from North Hollywood High School cool it. All There were trying to do is help out with Carol Gallegos and what has happen to here. I dont unserstand why people can be so mean. Yes there were puncuation errors and other errors as well. But they were just doing a good cause and people have to be so picky and critize at everything. My apology to the errors from the students at NHHS. Im the farm manger at nhhs in the Ag deparment and i work with these kids all the time and they are amazing students who work hard at what the believe in. So again my apology form the errors. Since poeple have to critize every detail.
Andrew Lepore April 07, 2011 at 02:57 AM
Sorry at the end of my sentence i meant from and people instead of form and poeple
Stu Miller April 10, 2011 at 05:01 PM
Maybe this will relieve your confusion, Deb. Our local supermarkets are private enterprise businesses owned and operated by corporations and their stockholders. The Studio City Market is a non-profit community enterprise and, as such, has an obligation to pay attention to its constituents. Furthermore, the issue isn't just the change in management itself, it's the high-handed, secretive way in which it was handled, apparently for the benefit of one person, Ms. Dosch, which you seem to think should simply be ignored by anyone who sees it as inappropriate. As for "freshening up" the market with more "organic" produce (in response to those who have said they want to see more of it) it's been well-established by agriculture scientists that there is NO advantage of ANY kind that organically grown food is better in any way than food which isn't so grown. It's just more expensive.
Stu Miller April 10, 2011 at 05:16 PM
Well, this might explain why the NHHS students ("amazing" and "hardworking" as they no doubt are) are unable to formulate a proper sentence. Perhaps we should hear from whichever teachers are responsible for teaching English composition at NHHS, rather than the "farm manger" (sic), whose apology is worse than what the kids wrote in the first place. Mr. Lepore, there's a LOT more wrong with your comment than the spelling errors in the last two sentences, including errors of syntax and punctuation that should be embarrassing for someone charged with teaching students. Yeah, some people have to "critize" (sic) every detail when others make public fools of themselves. You might want to consider taking some classes to improve your own use of our language so you can set a better example for your students.
Jack McGrath April 12, 2011 at 05:42 PM
Regarding the Carol Gallegos firing, I sent the following letter to John Walker, prez of the Studio City Neighborhood Council. His response was lacking in leadership, in my opinion. He said the SCNC was not an" investigative body". I had only asked for a hearing on the issues surrounding the firing of Carol Gallegos, and the hiring of Melody Dosch. Our alternative is to attend the next neighborhood council meeting, and each of us take our allotted two minutes to state our position for the record. My letter to Walker follows on the next comment:
Jack McGrath April 12, 2011 at 05:45 PM
Letter to John Walker: IRS.gov Search Results Mr. Walker: I am writing you to request an official hearing regarding the firing of Ms. Carol Gallegos, the former manager of the Studio City Farmer's market. I allege from information I have received from some local lawyers, that believe Ms. Melody Dosch broke one or more federal regulations pertaining to self dealing. From public published articles, it is apparent that Ms. Dosch, representing the Studio City Chamber of Commerce, and Mr. Art Howard, a member of the Studio City Resident's Association, jointly conspired to fire Ms. Carol Gallegos as market manager, and replace her with Ms. Dosch. Ms. Dosch's decision to fire Ms. Gallegos, directly benefited herself, by taking the position of Studio City Farmer's Market Manager, a fully compensated position.. Our Los Angeles City Council, Board of Supervisors, and other public agencies cannot make a vote which benefits themselves or any member of their family. If they took such action, a criminal complaint would be filed against the office holder. Similar provisions prohibit non-profit decision makers from taking actions which benefit themselves I respectfully request your council to act on this request in an expeditious manner. All of Studio City has been harmed by this secretive possibly illegal action by Ms. Dosch and Mr. Howard. Respectfully, Jack McGrath, President, Studio City Chamber of Commerce, 2004
Stu Miller April 12, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Mr. McGrath: Sympathetic though I am to your concerns about this issue, I agree with John Walker as to the potential involvement of the Studio City Neighborhood Council in holding a hearing or taking any other action about it. As you know, the SCNC has nothing to do with the Farmer's Market; it's a co-venture of the Resident's Association and the Chamber of Commerce, to both of which I suggest you make your complaint loudly, clearly and publicly.
Jack McGrath April 14, 2011 at 05:17 PM
To: John Walker, President, Studio City Neighborhood Council From: Jack McGrath, Former President, Studio City Chamber Re: Requested hearing for Farmer's Market Firing of the market manager John: The City Attorney is for advice, not decision making. You are the highest ranking local official we have in Studio City. You are elected by the people of Studio City to represent us. I have talked with other NC presidents and they say you have the power to do anything you want. I am requesting a hearing, not a decision by your body. This is a contentious issue that deserves to be heard. Why don't you unofficially poll your Board about my request?. The public should hear all the details of this issue. Carol Gallegos, Melody Dosch, and Art Howard should be requested to explain what happened. Studio City has had their image severely tarnished by this issue. Our reputation in Studio City is important. I request you again to put this issue on the agenda for discussion purposes only at the next SCNC meeting. Regards, Jack McGrath
Jack McGrath April 15, 2011 at 03:56 PM
On Wed. April 20, at 6:30 PM the SCNC will have their monthly meeting. City Atty Carmen Trutanich will be the featured speaker. I invite you all to join me to attend and make your own statement in the public comment period about the illegal firing of Carol Gallegos as Studio City Market Manager. Since the Studio City Farmer's Market has a permit from the City of Los Angeles Street Use Division to sponsor the farmer's market each Sunday, the SCNC has jurisdiction to deal with the SC Farmer's Market. There will be a large crowd of people in attendance due to the guest speaker. The meeting will be held at the CBS Studio Center, on Radford Ave, north of Ventura Blvd. It will be in Bldg 8, MPR-3. Ask the guard at the gate for directions. I will be making this announcement in the various Patch sites to reach those people who are quite angry about Carol Gallegos' abrupt termination. This will be the only opportunity to make a public statement about this important Studio City issue. Please tell your friends and associates. Please advise me if you will be in attendance and will make a public statement at the meeting. Regards, Jack McGrath O-818 506-6428 EM jjackmcgrath@aol.com
Carole Gallegos April 17, 2011 at 04:54 AM
I will be attending the Studio City Neighborhood Council meeting on Wednesday, April 20 @ 6:30PM speaking during the public comment part of the meeting. For the past 7 years the City of L.A. was very supportive of the farmer's market. I was most proud to be able to increase the gross sales of the market over 300% during my tenure as manager. We brought in organic fruits and vegetables, Grass fed beef, fresh fish and a wide array of unique food products. The Los Angeles Times in an article called our market one of the best markets in the San Fernando Valley. For seven years, I worked hard and loved my job. With my termination, for no just cause, I feel extremely disappointed with the unfair treatment by the representatives of the Studio City Chamber and Studio City Resident's Association. Those who made this decision never volunteered their time at the market and have no knowledge of how a farmers market operates. Coming from England, I always believed that in America, if you worked hard you would be rewarded for your success and hard work - not fired. I am now working with the Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce at a new Saturday Farmer's Market. We are located at the corner of Sepulveda and Camarillo in Sherman Oaks, just north of the Galleria. We have tons of free parking right at the Farmer's Market. I invite all of my Studio City customers to come over and say hello, and shop at our new market.
Jack McGrath May 04, 2011 at 09:05 PM
Carol Gallegos Lands Encino Farmer's Market Manager Position Encino: Carol Gallegos, called by the Los Angeles Times one of the best Farmer's Market managers in the San Fernando Valley, today was hired to manage the Encino Farmer Market. The Encino market is in operation every Sunday from 8:AM - 1;00PM. It is located at 17400 Victory Blvd. in Encino. The Encino market is sponsored by One Generation, a non-profit organization which serves the senior citizen community and the needs of children. It has been in business since 1978. "Carol Gallegos built the Studio City Market into a powerhouse, increasing revenue three hundred per cent in seven years. Her skill will make the Encino market, already considered one of the best in Los Angeles, even more successful," said Jack McGrath, former president of the Studio City Chamber, which is a sponsor of the Studio City market. " I am very pleased for Carol and One Generation. It is a strong market, and after 16 years serving the Encino community, has one of the best groups of vendors in all of the San Fernando Valley", said Joe Goodman, former president of the Studio City Chamber. Gallegos will be on the job this Sunday, Mother's Day, and hopes her many Studio City customers will come by and pay a visit. She wishes all Mothers the best on their most special day. The web site for One Generation is www.onegeneration.org
Larry Van Nuys May 04, 2011 at 10:49 PM
Why does Jack McGrath use the Comments page to put out a press release? Isn't this kind of flackery supposed to go to the editor of the website and he/she decides if its news?
Jack McGrath May 04, 2011 at 11:08 PM
Mr. Van Nuys: The comments are for comments. My comments were for many of us in Studio City who have known Carole since she came to the Studio City market in 2007. Please don't be so small minded in your comments. Many of us are very proud of Carole Gallegos. So is One Generation, or they would not have brought her on to manage their Encino market. The people of Encino and the vendors are going to enjoy their relationship with the new Encino Farmer's Market manager.
Laura May 05, 2011 at 05:26 AM
I, a resident of North Hollywood, have to say that this is one weird thread.
Larry Van Nuys May 05, 2011 at 05:31 AM
Mr. McGrath Learn the difference between a comment section involving the community... and the self-serving press releases of a public relations flack.
Rebekah May 06, 2011 at 12:13 AM
I have to agree!


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