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Fun prevails at Farmer’s Market

Sarah S. Chung

Fans of the Aspen Farmer’s Market can expect some new goodies this summer.

This week, the City Council approved the return of 15 vendors, who each Saturday will feature fresh produce, wines, jams, flowers, honey, baked goods, goat cheese and meat products from five local ranches.

Last year’s success will be hard to beat, but organizer Jack D’Orio feels the market’s participants are up to the task.

“Everybody’s real busy. We’re going to have a bumper crop of fruit and the produce guys are planting like crazy,” D’Orio said. “We don’t spare any amount of care in bringing the highest quality to Aspen.”

The farmer’s market will be held every Saturday during daylight hours from mid-June through early October.

Since its debut in the summer of 1998, the market has grown from seven to 15 vendors. Many of the products familiar to customers will again be on hand this year, however one new vendor – Ute City Herbs – which will sell greens, herbs and some flowers.

The council discussed to possibility of prohibiting amplified music and sampling of products when concern was raised about the noise level and safety of heated samples. But in the end, the spirit of fun overruled those concerns.

“I can’t help thinking of similar markets in Europe that are so vibrant, and I wonder if constantly micromanaging is killing the spirit of the event,” said Mayor Rachel Richards. “This is a free event that’s a benefit to the community; I think we’re being overly cautious.”

Councilman Tom McCabe, who originally took the cautious side, changed his mind as he recalled “all the fun we [used to have] on the Fourth of July. Now it’s like a wake. Maybe it’s time to add a little spark.”

D’Orio said he can’t wait for the summer 2000 version of the market to get under way.

“Aspen seems to really appreciate what we have to offer,” D’Orio said. “It’s definitely a growing market, maybe not by leaps and bounds, but it’s a nice gentle growth. … I think in the future we may look into expanding into another block.”

And it’s not just the locals who fill their baskets every weekend. D’Orio said many tourists come back year after year.

“It’s just a good, wholesome atmosphere where people can enjoy a summer day. What more can you ask for?” D’Orio said.


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