Farmer’s market is all set to expand | AspenTimes.com

Farmer’s market is all set to expand

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Area residents who make everything from hats and jewelry to wine and pottery are hoping to set up shop alongside the fruit and vegetable growers at the expanded Aspen Saturday Market this summer.

The weekly event, formerly known as the Aspen Farmer’s Market, will resume June 15 and run into October. It will feature the usual contingent of vendors, plus a couple of new additions on the farmers’ side – a Boulder pasta maker and a seller of frozen elk and buffalo meat.

The early start may mean Western Slope growers won’t have an abundance of produce for the market’s startup, but they’ll have something, according to Jack D’Orio, who coordinates the farmers’ section of the market on the block of Hopkins Avenue next to City Hall.

On Monday, the Aspen City Council approved a request from the Commercial Core and Lodging Commission to expand the market into adjacent Connor Park and along the alleyway next to City Hall.

The CCLC envisions offering a selection of “locals’ booths” to boost the vibrancy of the market. Commission members sorted through a variety of requests for the spaces on Wednesday, but have not yet decided how to divvy up the booths.

Though the market will begin June 15, the additional booths will come a week later, on June 22, CCLC member Charles Kennedy told the council.

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The commission liked just about every proposal they reviewed this week, including a suggestion from local businessman Barry Gordon to establish a weekly cooking demonstration by a rotation of local chefs in Connor Park.

“I’m talking about something that is different, new, and is an event, not just another booth or two, or three or four,” Gordon said. “Right now you walk into the farmer’s market and it’s the same thing on every corner. It really is boring – you go in, you get what you want, you leave.

“I think somebody has to take the bull by the horns.”

The CCLC suggested Gordon do just that. “I think your idea is great,” said member John Starr.

Gordon, a member of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association board, agreed to contact various restaurateurs and report back to the commission in two weeks.

Meanwhile, the commission will be sorting out applications that are continuing to come in for the new booth spaces.

Among the applicants is Seth Sachson, who runs the local animal shelter. He has proposed bringing a handful of dogs that are up for adoption each week. Shoppers who aren’t in the market for a pet will at least have an opportunity to take one for a walk.

At least two applications to sell locally produced pottery are before the CCLC. In addition, a Basalt woman has applied to sell jewelry and two individuals have proposed selling handmade hats.

Scott Franklin, manager of the Thunderbowl Market Cafe at Aspen Highlands, has applied to sell the organic breads that are baked at the cafe.

“We really don’t think people associate us with a bakery,” he said. “This would be tremendous exposure for us.”

Woody Creek resident Kevin Doyle, the wine steward at Krabloonik, is interested in selling Colorado wines from his own Colorado Rocky Mountain Winery in Cedaredge, as well as wines from other Colorado wine producers. The market already includes one local wine vendor.

Only The Noodle Bowl in Basalt received something of a thumbs down from the CCLC on Wednesday. The restaurant can sell its sauces and prepackaged meals, to be heated and served at home, but it can’t sell its stir-fry creations on-site for consumption at the market, commission members agreed. Small, free samples of prepared food, however, would be allowed.

The commission has decided it does not want vendors to sell prepared meals on-site, which would compete with local restaurants.

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