Bigger, better Farmer’s Market will return to Aspen |

Bigger, better Farmer’s Market will return to Aspen

Aficionados of outdoor markets will be able to get their fix in Aspen once again this summer, when the Aspen Farmer’s Market gets started on June 26.

The Aspen City Council gave its initial approval Monday night for a three-year vending agreement for the market, which once again is to be held on Saturdays along the 500 block of East Hopkins Avenue.

But this year there will be more to choose from, under an agreement that expands the number of vendors from eight last year to as many as 14 this year.

According to city planner Mitch Haas, basically all of the vendors who took part in the market last year will be back, offering everything from a wide variety of fresh produce to meats, preserves, herbs and flowers.

This year, according to a list included in the council’s information packet Monday night, there also will be fresh gourmet pastas from Ottorino’s of Glenwood Springs, honey products offered by longtime valley residents Roy and Martha Rickish, bakery items from Louis Swiss Bakers of Aspen, and wines from the Western Slope Winery of Carbondale.

Haas noted that the new lineup is almost double the number of vendors who participated last year.

Plus, he said, a steel drum band that has appeared on national television is planning to be in Colorado in late July and early August, and has asked to be allowed to put on a street performance, possibly two weekends in a row.

In his memo to the City Council, Haas noted the city’s staff had backed allowing the market last year because such markets “have, in other communities, been successful in helping to breathe new life into downtown neighborhoods by generating pedestrian activity and community interaction.”

Markets provide a “meeting place” that is “an important contributor to the social fabric, allowing people to feel connected to each other and their community,” the memo said.

Haas said the planning staff feels the success of last year’s market proved their point, “with the only complaints involving a feeling that more vendors and greater diversity was needed.”

Under the agreement approved by the City Council, the city’s community development director can “modify” the agreement at her own discretion if the participants make a formal request to change the number or makeup of the list of vendors. His memo to the council indicates that already there are plans for some late-summer additions to the lineup.

The market will be held each Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., from June 26 through the end of October, weather permitting. That block of Hopkins Avenue is to be closed to automobile traffic during the market’s hours of operation.

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