There’s been a new leader at the helm of the Cambria Farmers Market since last month, but most shoppers haven’t noticed the change.
Jeff Nielsen is the new market manager, having taken over those chores and more from Mike and Carol Broadhurst, who have run the popular Friday afternoon venue since 2009.
The change was announced at the market last month, as the Broadhursts presented a $17,000 check from market proceeds to the event’s sponsor, the Cambria Lions Club.
Market customers and vendors will find the new boss in the same Dragon Springs Farm booth where the former managers sold their produce and products.
Nielsen, 34, and his fiancée, Rebecca Broadhurst (Mike and Carol’s daughter), live on Broadhurst farm, and will be taking over the day-to-day operations there, too, according to Mike Broadhurst.
“Since I just passed by big 7-0,” he wrote in an email interview, “Carol and I decided to join the vastness of Cambria’s retirees. We will continue to help … neither of us can just sit around.”
He said one thing he and his wife plan to continue doing “is selling at Cambria’s farmers market. … The two of us are in good health and looking forward to 1,000 Fridays,” at least.
Since I just passed by big 7-0, arol and I decided to join the vastness of Cambria’s retirees. We will continue to help … neither of us can just sit around.
Mike Broadhurst, outgoing manager of Cambria Farmers Market
A year ago, neither Nielsen nor his fiancée had much of a farm background (other than her heritage from her parents), “but I’m quickly learning,” he said in a recent phone interview.
The couple met at a Bay Area high school they were both attending, and kept in touch through their college and career years. After he graduated in 2003 from Tufts University in Boston, he spent years in the technology/web management field, and she traveled the world, doing hospital consulting for a major firm.
Nielsen also is a world traveler, having circumnavigated the globe twice by plane, boat, train and other transportation modes.
Eventually Rebecca Broadhurst came to the Bay Area from Australia and New Zealand, and the couple moved in together in San Francisco. But about four years later, according to Nielsen, both were career restless.
“I wasn’t feeling very fulfilled by 60 hours a week behind a computer. I wanted to be outside, doing something with my hands,” he said. “We talked about buying a piece of land or a farm,” and his fiancée suggested checking out her parents’ place in Cambria.
“We loved it,” Nielsen said. “We didn’t want to go back.”
Six months later, they’d given up their San Francisco apartment and moved permanently to Dragon Springs.
Meanwhile, at Michael Broadhurst’s suggestion, Nielsen became a member of the Cambria Lions, despite not usually being a group joiner, he said.
“I was pleasantly surprised to find a really good group of guys and gals, really focused on giving back to the community” through local and international charitable work, he said.
About a half year later, Mike and Carol Broadhurst decided they were ready to retire, so Nielsen “threw my name into the hat, and the Lions decided I’d be a good fit” for the market manager’s job.
Now, he’s “looking forward to continuing Mike and Carol’s great work at the farmers market, but also bringing in new ideas and energy,” Nielsen said. And Rebecca Broadhurst is five months pregnant, he said, and the couple is planning their family’s future in Cambria, wrapped around the family farming tradition and the market. “We’re really looking forward to raising that family in Cambria.”
If you go
A special raffle at the Cambria Farmers Market on Friday, May 13, will honor the years of work Mike and Carol Broadhurst, according to new market manager Jeff Nielsen. The weekly market starts at 2:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St.