This Weekend’s Harvest Festival a Showcase for Produce at Its Peak
by Kati O'Hare
Sep 06, 2012 | 1384 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PEAK PRODUCE – Customers inspecting in-season produce at the Montrose Farmers' Market. (Courtesy photo)
PEAK PRODUCE – Customers inspecting in-season produce at the Montrose Farmers' Market. (Courtesy photo)

MONTROSE – With the area's produce at its peak, it's time to celebrate nature’s bounty, at the second annual Harvest Festival, Saturday, Aug. 8, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

"I think it is exciting to see what grows in this area, [to] see what your neighbors are doing," said Straw Hat Farms’ Karen Byler.  

"And if promoting healthy, local food can be fun, too, that's great."

The festival kicks off at the Montrose Farmers Market’s regular Saturday sale,8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., in the new plaza at South First St. and Uncompahgre Ave., with approximately 25 booths of local vendors selling their fruits, vegetables, meats and other items.

But the Harvest Festival brings more to the event than just good food, with everything from chef’s demonstrations to live entertainment from musician Chris Mullen to face-painting for the kids and workshops with Colorado State University Extension professional Frank Stonaker for their parents.

The workshops will be held in the Centennial Room, off of Centennial Plaza, across the street from the market.

Workshops covering how to make your garden grow, with a focus on healthy soil and fertility and organic planting, will be taught from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. From 2:45 to 3:45, learn tips and techniques from NAME Stonaker, an expert in the field, Brewer said. Then from 4 to 5 p.m., participants will learn about regional agriculture – about both small and big operations – and how they affect the local economy.

The market is seeking donations for the workshops, said Market Director Abby Brewer, who suggests attendees RSVP to 209-8463.

The festival, which started last year (and focused on garlic) has expanded this year, with something for everyone. There still is a strong garlic presence, however, at the Straw Hat Farm's booth.

Straw Hat Farms grows an acre of garlic and harvests between 60,000 and 70,000 garlic bulbs of seven varieties every year, Byler said.

"At the Harvest Festival, we will have garlic for planting which hasn't gone to the market yet," she said.

The farm will also sell tools for cooking with garlic, and sampler boxes ready to be shipped anywhere in the United States.

The garlic workshop will demonstrate how to braid garlic, after the stems have dried, in such a way that it's decorative and the garlic can be plucked without destroying the braid.

"We're in the height of the season – everything is in season right now," Brewer said.

The farmers' market will continue every Saturday and Wednesday at the outside venue until the end of September. In October, it will move to an indoor location, most likely in the Centennial Room, and take place on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

Kati O'Hare at or Tweet @katiohare

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