Roaring Fork Valley outdoor markets come alive in the summer
When I hear the words “farmers market,” I think, “When and where?” This absolutely is a favorite pastime for me, whether it is local or while traveling. It is here that I feel like a true local chatting with venders and tasting the foods that are an integral part of their life and region.
One of our own local markets is the Basalt Sunday Market, at Lion’s Park in downtown Basalt. Market hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday, rain or shine.
It was only five years ago that a small group of community members organized the first market in downtown Basalt. This event now has become a combined effort with the town of Basalt.
Theresa Rumery, who is the Basalt market manager, has about 30 venders and considers the market filled to capacity. Yet there is room available for one-time “drop in” venders. This provides an opportunity to a participant who cannot commit to a full season or for a community nonprofit organization.
The market’s goal is to be a wonderful place for people to gather and linger, Rumery said. Live music is provided every week, tables and chairs are set up, and several varieties of prepared food are available for lunch or snacks.
Even small children are in the entertainment plans, as there are two bouncy houses to play in. It’s an excellent place to have a picnic lunch while listening to live music on a Colorado Sunday!
Farmers markets also are where you can talk to the growers and ask them questions. Here you can learn what is seasonally available now and what is coming in the weeks ahead. Colorado has many microclimates largely because of the many elevation changes. This affects growing seasons and when crops are ready.
For example, a big supplier for some of the produce to the area is Borden Farms, in Delta, where the growing season begins at least a month ahead of Basalt. Knowing seasonal availability will help you plan healthy meals with the freshest available food.
Right now, the local produce has a lot of kale, Swiss chard and many other greens. With greenhouses and venders growing in other zones, such as Delta, there are fresh tomatoes, summer squash, herbs, peas and beans to start the season.
Later in the summer, we will begin to see local melons, corn, peaches, eggplant, etc. During the fall, there also will be winter squash, pumpkins and even more root vegetables. Keeping current with seasonal availability provides variety in meals.
The vender also enjoy the markets as well, since it gives them a chance to talk to the buyers about what they know best. It is from them you will learn what is the best heirloom salad tomato or how to utilize herbs and edible flowers. And if you have your own garden, you also can gain invaluable insider grower tips.
Farmer markets are fun for families when the shopping is shared with children. Let them pick out the carrots or peaches. You might be surprised and find them eating and liking fruits and vegetables you never considered.
A few of the other venders you will see in downtown Basalt are Rock Bottom Ranch with its veggies, flowers, eggs and meat. The Upper Crust has fresh bread and pastries. Ajax sells doughnuts. There’s also Avalanche Cheese, Wild Bear Bee Farm honey and Rock Canyon coffee. Other items are hand-knit sweaters, lotions, soaps, pottery, paintings and Jane’s hand-painted T-shirts.
Our Roaring Fork Valley has many other farmers markets to enjoy also. We have the Aspen Saturday Market, Carbondale on Wednesdays, Glenwood on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and New Castle on Thursdays. For more details on markets offerings and times, check with their respective chambers of commerce.
These outdoor markets are a great way to gain more knowledge about what food is available in our local area. Discovering how cheese or honey is made from the actual artisans somehow deepens the flavor of products. It is just a great community activity to enjoy and savor delicious food.
For further information on the Basalt Sunday Market, contact Theresa Rumery at manager@basalt sundaymarket.com
Next week, we will share a story about our high-elevation honey.
Joni Keefe moved to the Roaring Fork Valley after a career in landscape design. She is passionate about local food and agriculture. For more information, her website is Farmsfinest.com, or follow her on Twitter. Connect at email@example.com.
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