Where to find fresh, locally grown produce in the Roaring Fork Valley
- Bring a reusable shopping bag.
- Go early when supplies are most plentiful if you want something specific.
- Buy the ‘ugly’ stuff. It’s crazy but true, crooked carrots and misshapen squash or tomatoes are just as tasty as their picture-perfect counterparts.
- Strike up a conversation. Talk to vendors about why they’re selling certain things, the best way to serve new-to-you produce or simply how the season is going.
- Many vendors take credit cards, but cash is always appreciated.
Produce stands and farmers markets are a universal way to connect with seasonal, local food and meet the people who grow it. Even with the farming challenges of our mountainous locale, the Roaring Fork Valley has a farmer’s market for almost every day of the week. Tempting selections of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, eggs, cheeses and prepared foods make creating a meal-of-the-moment or picking up good food to go a breeze. And, as you wander the stalls, don’t be surprised if you bump into your favorite local chefs, as many get creative inspiration from seeing what’s fresh.
If you would rather have a selection of local, farm fresh ingredients curated for you, investigate local CSAs. “CSA” stands for community supported agriculture. CSAs work by having people become members, which means you are purchasing a share of vegetables, meat, dairy and more from a farmer or collection of farmers for the growing season. As such, you receive a box with an assortment of their freshly harvested products on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. While requiring a summer-long membership of weekly pick-ups is standard, it’s well worth the commitment, not only for the quality of the food, but also for the adventurous ‘mystery box’ aspect to it.
Local Markets from Aspen to Glenwood Springs
- Aspen Saturday Market. Saturdays, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. – This market has been going strong since 1998. Every Saturday from mid-June to mid-October customers stroll the U-shaped market from Hopkins to Hunter to Hyman street shopping and catching up with friends, while enjoying live music. In addition to Colorado-grown produce, meats and cheeses, there’s Colorado-made bread, skin-care products, art and more. In fact, having a Colorado connection is a criterion for selling at the market, which does over a million dollars in sales during its 17-week run, according to Kathy Strickland, market manager.
- Basalt Sunday Market, Sundays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. – The Basalt Sunday Market is part market, part casual community gathering held downtown on Midland Spur. You can purchase produce and meats from local farms like Rock Bottom Ranch, enjoy live music, grab a snack, and pick up one-of-a-kind offerings from local vendors. They even have arts and crafts for kids.
- Carbondale Downtown Farmers’ Market, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. – Get a burst of mid-week dinner inspiration at this eclectic market set up in the middle of downtown. With a focus on local farmers, producers and artisans, not only can you buy wonderful products, you’ll be supporting the community goal of sustainable business practices.
- Glenwood’s Downtown Market, Tuesdays, 4–8 p.m. – Enjoy a different kind of happy hour at this lively evening market, located just off of Grand Avenue. In addition to being able to buy goods from local farmers and makers, you can pick up dinner and enjoy live music.
- Glenwood Springs Saturday Famers Market, Saturdays, 8 a.m.–3 p.m. -Established in 1986, this market focuses primarily on fresh produce, although there are some crafts and prepared foods, and live music by the Farmhand String Band. It’s located at 14th and Grand Avenue.
In addition to going to your CSA to pick up your weekly share, some will deliver or have drop-off spots throughout the Valley. Be aware that offerings vary throughout the season. Check with the CSAs to inquire about membership availability.
Farm Runners Cooperative CSA
Happy Belly CSA
Merrill’s Family Farm
Missouri Heights, merrillsfamilyfarm.com
Peach Valley CSA
Two Roots Farm
Zephyros Farm and Garden