MAIN STREET — If you’re a fan of the gourmet tamale stand at the Main Street Farmers’ Market, get them while you still can.

Thanks to an overhaul of the way City Hall selects vendors, the weekly Sunday market will have a different look come October, with a new roster of prepared food sellers.

The change means some longtime favorites, like Corn Maiden Foods, aren’t long for Santa Monica.

“I am absolutely stunned,” said Pascal Dropsy, president of the Harbor City-based company, which during six years at the market has acquired a loyal clientele with offerings like a goat cheese, sun dried tomato and basil tamale. “We are probably one of the two or three most popular booths. We have lines and lines of people every single Sunday.”

Though popular, Corn Maiden didn’t make the cut under the new selection guidelines, which favor local businesses and put a premium on demonstrating a commitment to sustainable practices.

Dropsy said his company should have scored well in the sustainability category. But with 64 applicants for the spaces, competition was stiff.

The new selection rules replaced an informal process for picking vendors that the City Council earlier this year decided to update after local restaurant owners, especially those with businesses near the busy Main Street market, argued they should get preference.

There are just 13 prepared food stalls at the Main Street market, and under the new rules six are reserved for local businesses.

The new selection rules apply to prepared food vendors at all four of Santa Monica’s markets but will have the biggest impact at the Main Street market, which has the most prepared food sellers. The Pico market has seven prepared food booths and the Downtown Wednesday and Saturday markets have two booths and one booth, respectively.

Among the new comers to the Main Street market will be Finn McCool’s Irish Pub, Lula Cocina Mexicana, Manchego and Euphoria Loves Rawvolution, which all have permanent locations on Main Street.

“It’s a great opportunity for locals to basically show what they have,” said Ash Amir, who owns Manchego, a Spanish and Mediterranean restaurant.

Jodi Low, who manages the Main Street market for City Hall, said in some ways the new system is a big change.

“We’re sad to see vendors go that have been dedicated for so long to making the markets what they are today. At the same time, the vendors that are coming in are aligned with what City Council has said is best for the city,” she said.

For Corn Maiden Foods, the shift is a blow to business. The company participates in 18 other markets in Southern California, but Santa Monica’s Main Street market, Dropsy said, is by far the most profitable one.

“It’s just really too bad that politics has to get involved with something that is working well,” he said. “The customer is going to end up paying the price.”

nickt@www.smdp.com

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