The day broke April 4 on the first Boulder and Longmont Farmers’ Markets of the season with bluebird skies and the mercury pushing 60F, which for early spring is downright balmy.T
As much as the daffodils and crocus and blooming forsythia, the start of farmers’ market season signals the start of spring in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
And on Saturdays from now until the weekend before Thanksgiving, there will be hoards of people — 6,000 in Boulder and 2,000 in Longmont, on average — filling their baskets with beets, honey, greens, tomatoes and more.
In addition to a place where you can locally source an increasing amount food — including a variety of meats, organically grown heirloom veggies and even fresh milk (from a “subscription” to the output of a local cow) — our Boulder County Farmers’ Markets are where we vote with our dollars for the world we would like to see.
By buying organic lettuce or heirloom tomatoes or eggs from free range, well-treated chickens, we are voting for those people that produce those items within driving distance and without (if we choose) pesticides, herbicides and other garbage we don’t want to eat.
“People realize the importance of supporting sustainable food sources and, in some cases, paying more money for that than you would pay at Safeway,” said Tim Brod of Highland Honey Bees who is in his fourth year as a Farmers’ Market vendor in both Longmont and Boulder. “Sometimes people have to shop by price, but the whole world is not just WalMart or Coors Light or Hershey’s kisses. The farmers’ market is a way of being evocative of that time when most of our food came from within 30 miles of our homes.”
Now in its 29th season, the Boulder Farmers’ Market is held on 13th Street next to Boulder’s Central Park on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesdays starting May 6 through Oct. 7 at the same location. The Longmont Farmers’ Market is held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays through Nov. 21 at the Boulder County Fairgrounds on Hover Road at Sunset and on Wednesdays from 4 to 8 p.m. on 5th Avenue between Main and Kimbark streets.
“We are one of the few producer only farmers’ markets, vendors who sell what they grow” said Katie Lazor, Marketing Manager for the Boulder County Farmers’ Markets. “There is no one re-selling produce and we believe that makes a big difference. You can actually talk with the owner or someone who works on the farm every day.”
Lazor said that new this year at both the Boulder and Longmont Saturday markets will be a designated area for kids with activities like a scavenger hunt, crafts and farm animals they can pet and learn about. There will also be seasonal food festivals at each of the markets to highlight different kinds of produce, when it’s in season and who in the area grows it. Check the Boulder County Farmers’ Markets website at boulderfarmers.org for dates of the festivals as well as other farm related events, such as farmer dinners, yoga in the fields, cheese workshops, crop mobs and harvest help.
And after you’re done shopping at the Boulder Farmers’ Market, it’s well worth your time to stop by the Savory Spice Shop on Broadway just north of Pearl Street and talk to owner Dan Hayward. He can offer great tips on how to prepare what you’ve purchased and just the right herbs and spices to make your fresh foods zing. If you don’t have time to stop by, check out the website at savoryspiceshop.com or email Dan directly at email@example.com with any questions.