Area 51 Designs

Area51Business: Area 51 Designs

Market Days: Sundays in Marina and Mondays in Pacific Grove

Products: Rocks, Gems, Minerals and Fossils from all over the world.

City Business Production is Conducted: Salinas, CA

People: Jeff Shaw is the sole owner of Area 5, runs the market booth, and has three other jobs. He ROCKS!

Business History: Jeff’s interest in geology was sparked in 2005 when the incense in a bookstore caught his attention. When he found out the incense was molderite meteor-scented, he was hooked. He has been collecting and purchasing rocks, gems, crystals, fossils and minerals ever since. In May of 2011, he joined the farmers’ market and loves it.

Sourcing: Jeff finds many of his pieces himself and also purchases from private collections. The hunting of fossils, gems, and rocks is a patient process that takes Shaw to the Western United States like Texas, Oregon, Arizona and Washington. He polishes and presents the stones himself and occasionally transforms them into beautiful jewelry pieces.

Personal Note: The relationships Shaw has with his customers are extremely individualized. He will take a rock from a customer’s personal collection and transform it into a necklace, will alter a piece to suit a preference, and by request, will even seek out a new geological treasure and create something completely original.

What motivates you to do this work? Shaw’s knowledge about geology and rocks is apparent and astounding. After browsing his booth, one customer said, “Jeff is so knowledgeable, he actually teaches you what details to admire.”  Jeff simply says, “All kids like to play in the dirt, and I haven’t stopped. Mother Nature always has something new to offer”.


Chava’s Corn

Chavas CornBusiness: Chava’s Corn

Market Days: Sundays in Marina, Tuesdays at Alisal, Wednesdays at Natividad Medical Center, and Fridays at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare.

Products: Corn on the cob and fresh baked potatoes

City Business Production is Conducted: Salinas, CA

People: The business is currently owned by Ana Maria Cuevas and is run by Gustavo Cuentas and his two sons, Fabian and Noel. Gustavo’s brother Jose, manages the business.

Business History: Anna started the business in 2002, and Gustavo and Jose became involved in 2005. Thinking it would be a good idea for a business, Jose bought a baked potato oven in Texas. They gave it a try, and they are still up and running smoothly!

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Sourcing: The potatoes are from a warehouse in San Francisco, and depending on the season, the corn comes from various farmers on the West Coast.

Personal Note: Gustavo enjoys the market due to the variety of people he gets to meet each time they attend the market. The business is a family owned and operated activity.

What motivates you to do this work? This family business is a side job on the weekends. Their other career is driving a truck for a fertilizer company in Salinas. Sending their children to college and giving them a good education is the family’s main motivation.

To Contact: 831-998-7321


Coastal Kettle Corn

Coastal KettleBusiness: Coastal Kettle Corn

Market Days: Mondays in Pacific Grove and Fridays at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare.

Products:  Kettle Corn, the snack you can’t resist!

City Business Production is Conducted: Pacific Grove and Marina, CA.

People: You might find owner Jeff Powell at the booth working alongside extended family members and friends – like Rachel Bohrman and Taylor Smith – who help him out on various market days. It’s a team effort!

Business History: Inspired by a vendor at a farmers’ market in San Luis Obispo, Jeff took his kernel of an idea and began to plan for his own business. In 2008, the kernel popped and the family opened Coastal Kettle Corn. Now they attend festivals and rodeos as well as farmers’ markets around Monterey County.

Sourcing: The corn is mushroom popcorn from Nebraska – it has fewer wings and is more round. Other ingredients are oil, sugar, salt and a smile.

Personal Note: People love our popcorn!

What motivates you to do this work? Having fun while working with family members. At the same time, Jeff is making money to pay for his son’s tuition. In fact, the profits from Coastal Kettle Corn paid for a whole semester of his son’s tuition! With fee increases, more people better come out to get some more popcorn!



H&H Woodworking

H&HBusiness: H&H Woodworking

Market Days: Mondays in Pacific Grove

Products: Pens, Knives, and Assorted Wood Products

City Business Production is Conducted: Pacific Grove

People: David is a retired Monterey Bay oceanographer who has maintained woodworking as a hobby for twenty years. As a result of his experiences volunteering at farmers’ markets, he decided to expand his hobby and create a business out of it.

Sourcing: David uses recycled wood from friends and choppings from lumber yards. He also uses wood samples from flooring companies.

What motivates you to do this work? David has always had a passion for woodworking and really enjoys the creative process


India Gourmet

Business: India Gourmet

Market Days: Mondays in Pacific Grove

Products: India Gourmet provides the local farmers’ markets with a variety of curries, chutney, naan, samosas, and traditional Indian drinks served with a smile! The naan is freshly baked on the spot in a tandoor oven – come for the show and for the food! The gourmet stand is well known for their variety of vegetarian dishes, potato and vegetable samosas, wraps and simmering lamb curry with spicy curry sauce.

City Business Production is Conducted: Watsonville, CA

People: India Gourmet is a small family business managed by both part-time and full-time family employees. Owned by Raj Dilhon, you can often find him out at the market spreading his contagious joy. You will also see Soledad Cruz preparing food and baking naan. She has been with India Gourmet since 2002 and loves it! The naan is her favorite specialty. Another familiar face at the stand is long-time family friend Joe. Joe enjoys the atmosphere of the Pacific Grove Farmers’ Market because of its proximity to the beach and the friendly locals.

Business History: India Gourmet has a small kitchen in Watsonville. They treasure their business and take pleasure in working personally with the farmers to create tasty Indian recipes. The cuisine stand can be seen at local farmers’ markets, the county fair, festivals, and through their catering services for special events. They also have a successful restaurant since the 90’s located in Monterey.

Sourcing: Products such as organic vegetables, herbs and spices are mostly purchased from local farmers markets; other products such as creams and yogurts are purchased from neighboring grocery stores like Costco Wholesale.

Personal Note: India Gourmet attracts a wide variety of customers in the county. Their top selling dish is the chicken tikka masala! This is a curry dish of roasted chicken chunks served in a creamy, spicy tomato sauce.

What motivates you to do this work? “We cook and serve people because it’s simply all we know and love. We enjoy working with the community, meeting new people and interacting with the farmers.”


Mai Thai Cuisine

Mai thaiMarket days: Mondays at Pacific Grove, Fridays at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, and Sundays at Marina Market.

Products: Fresh prepared Thai Cuisine

City Business production is Conducted: Pacific Grove

People: Rampueng is the owner and chef. Her mother in law Denise is the manager, and Ming takes care of the orders, menus and services.

Business History: They live in Pacific Grove and have cooked in local restaurants for 25 years. Their goal was to allow people to taste authentic Thai food and enjoy the different spices that are freshly prepared. Everything is prepared dish by dish, no short cuts. The presentation of the food is beautiful, with the incredible smell of spices, enhanced with lime,  chilies and sweet and sour.  Premium quality ingredients

Sourcing: They get there ingredients from Lion markets in San Jose,  and Steve’s Filipino Market in Salinas.  Locally grown vegetables, premium coconut milk, special dishes, fresh basil mild to hot, they prepare fresh  chili paste, onions, and use ground peppers to create unique flavors in every dish they make.

What motivates you to do this work? They love the people that come and try their authentic food. The food is prepared for individual taste and Pueng loves to cook.

Personal Note: Rampueng is up at 4 a.m. preparing food. Her specialty dish is Green Curry, come and try it.

To Contact: 831-236-3571



Buisness: Mr.Falafel

Market Days: Sundays in Marina and Mondays in Pacific Grove.

Products: Falafel, hummus, and Baklava

City Business Production is Conducted: Pacific Grove, CA

People: Majed Agha is the owner. Majed is in charge of running the tent while Hussein is in charge of taking orders and cooking food.

Business History: Majad started Mr. Falafel in Salinas in 2001. He makes everything himself except for the bread; quite a feat considering all the flavors of hummus he presents! Mr. Falafel has been featured in the Monterey Herald and other local newspapers; his visibility in the community keeps business booming. Mr. Falafel has been with Everyone’s Harvest since 2009.

Sourcing: Majed is involved with the markets as his career, and is working to make a financial living for himself. His favorite is the Monterey market because of the large numbers of customers, he said the line is never ending in Monterey, and much less chaotic in Marina due to the more personal nature of the market.

Personal Note: Majed is amazingly charming and outgoing. His falafel stand always has customers. Thankfully, his multitasking skills show how much experience he has, as he answered these interview questions while at the same time helping the constant flow of customers.

What motivates you to do this work? The falafel is Majed’s favorite food, and he makes the best around! He works so hard because he makes good money in the markets. He advises people to “cook with your gut” for best dishes. His visibility in the community keeps business booming. If Majed would stop cooking up delicious food, he would be a store manager instead, a profession without the excitement of markets.

To contact Mr. Falafel with questions: (831) 747-1930


Taquito’s Hernandez

Business: Taquito’s Hernandez

Market Days: Mondays in Pacific Grove


City Business Production is Conducted: 


Business History: 


Personal Note: 

What motivates you to do this work? 

To Contact: 831-710-9016


Wylde Wells Soapworks

WyldeBusiness: Wylde Welles Soapworks

Market Days: Monday in Pacific Grove

Products: Handcrafted Soaps, Lotions, and Toiletries

City Business Production is Conducted: Pebble Beach, CA

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People: Diane Welles is the owner and is retired from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has been making soap for fifteen years and is an avid knitter that is also passionate about dogs.

Business History: Diane began making soap in 1996 for her niece who was so sensitive to detergents and surfactants that she was unable to use any commercial soap. Diane has now been selling her soaps at the farmer’s markets for years.

Sourcing: The soaps are vegetable-based. She gets her ingredients from all over the world, but uses American oils as much as possible.

Personal Note:

What motivates you to do this work? Diane’s niece initially motivated her to start making soap and she became a vendor at the farmer’s markets to support her community.