Real Life Magazine, Summer 1999
June ushers in early summer with her treasure trove of earthly delights. Long, warmer days invite lazy daydreams and her evenings are pleasantly cool and refreshing. The temptation grows to leave open the bedroom window at night so that fresh breezes and bird song can greet us in the morning. A new season begins, bringing us what only summer can.
Have you ever wondered if there is still a place where friends meet, have a cup of coffee (a snow cone if the day is hot enough), buy plants, relax, pet a dog, smile at a stranger and have the cuisine of the world served without silverware? There is…the Farmer’s Market.
Starting in early June and running through October, our Farmer’s Markets combine a simple, friendly atmosphere with an always changing menu of garden fresh produce and other agricultural items you may have not expected: all kinds of plants, fresh baked goods, European style breads, hand-made herbal products and some crafts. I’ve seen red worms sold at market, ready to go to work in a compost pile and the products of bees and the people tending them: honey, beeswax candles and bee pollen. Perhaps some of these local bees have even foraged in our neighborhood gardens!
Each market has its own “flavor” and varies somewhat depending on the day of the week and the regulations vendors must follow. Consistently, however, each requires that items sold be produced locally by the farm or gardener selling it (an exception allows the sale of Colorado’s west slope fruit). This provides a truly unique opportunity for consumers. Through a season of shopping at Farmer’s Markets, you cannot only meet, but get to know the people growing your food and flowers, ask questions or find out more about how your soap, bread and honey are made. In an increasingly less personal, fast paces world there is something wonderfully nostalgic and satisfying in knowing this. The Saturday morning Farmer’s Market offers information resources
as well. Master Gardeners, Food Preservers, and Composters are on hand to help answer any burning questions you may have concerning these topics.
The phrase “well traveled” takes on new meaning when you consider that the average supermarket carrot travels 2,000 miles from field to table and that many of the typical offerings at floral outlets arrive from California and central America. Conversely, the USDA estimates that most farmer’s market products travel less than 50 miles from farm or garden to market; very often within 24 hours of harvest.
Among many other things, this means that produce, herb and flower varieties brought to market need not be selected for their ability to be held in storage or travel great distances. Herbs and veggies grown nearby are usually varieties chosen for flavor – but if you’ve ever ha a warm tomato right off the vine or an apple fresh from the tree on a crisp autumn morning you don’t need me to tell you the difference!
Across the nation farmer’s markets are a growing trend. Since 1994, the number in our country has almost doubled and the front range of Colorado is no exception. There are now markets in Estes Park and Loveland, as well as Fort Collins, Greeley, Boulder, and Cheyenne.