By Rob Rogers, Bay Area News Group
Posted: 07/10/2009 08:30:06 AM PDT
After spending the past six summers giving free tarot readings beneath the redwood trees of Bolinas Park, the Rev. Joey Talley, the "Good Witch of West Marin," has come to think of herself as a part of the Fairfax Farmers Market.
Managers at the Marin Farmers Market see things differently. The organization, which operates eight farmers markets throughout the Bay Area, says Talley has never applied to work as a vendor or entertainer at the Wednesday night market, and they've asked her to leave.
"We don't want the market to become a free-for-all festival," said market manager Amelia Spilger. "I've had to turn down (applications from) masseuses, chiropractors and holistic healers. They all have a place in the community, but we have limited space in the market."
Talley agrees that she's never sought an application, and admits that she "snuck around behind her back" after Spilger asked her to leave the market last year. But Talley believes she's providing a free public service and has been gathering signatures on a petition asking that she be allowed to stick around.
"I've been here year after year," Talley said. "There are teens who tell me things they could never take to their parents, and they could never afford to schedule a $100 session with me."
While Bolinas Park belongs to the town, the Marin Farmers Market has the right to use the park every Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m., and to decide which vendors can participate
in the market, Fairfax Town Manager Michael Rock said.
"Any business can refuse someone service," Rock said. "They have reserved the park for that time period, and they run the event. They have vendors they approve and a reserved spot for each vendor. If (Talley) is trying to get a spot at the farmers market, she's got to work through them. But that's like trying to get a winning lottery ticket. It's packed in there."
Talley, who lives within walking distance of the park, provides "professional witchcraft services" to the customers who contact her at home, at the market or at several Marin restaurants where she performs weekly tarot card readings. A clinical psychologist by training - she previously worked with veterans services and at a drug rehabilitation clinic in San Francisco - she uses her skills as a counselor, herbalist and Wiccan healer to solve her clients' problems, which often have to do with money or sex, she said.
"There have been a lot of requests for money charms in the last year," Talley said. "A lot of people have asked me to put a glamour on a loan application or other paperwork, so when other people read it, it will look good to them."
Occasionally, she'll receive requests to perform black magic - but Talley always tells those clients she's not that kind of witch.
While they appreciate Talley's unique talents, Marin Farmers Market representatives insist she take part in the same application process as every other vendor at the Fairfax market. It's that process, Spilger said, that lets customers know what they see at the market is what they'll get.
"Our farmers are certified as growing what they're producing. Our artisans are artists producing what they sell," Spilger said. "It's the same with our food purveyors, to protect the integrity of the market. I understand Rev. Talley's frustration, but those are the parameters set forth for the market."
Vendor Russ Sartori said it's never bothered him to have Talley telling fortunes a few feet from his strawberry stand, but he can understand the association's position.
"Rules are rules," said Sartori, who operates Sartori's Strawberry Field in Tomales Bay. "She should just sell something."