The Telluride Farmers Market has started and we welcome back all of our regular customers. We know you’ve been waiting as patiently as possible for the market to begin. We invite occasional market shoppers and those who have never come by to pay the market a visit. We’re off to a strong start this season, and the offerings are definitely getting more abundant as the weather finally warms. We are grateful as always for our customers, good weather and a thriving market.
The market is held every Friday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oak Street between Elks Park and the Gondola Plaza. Come by and you’ll find food selections ranging from fresh produce of every kind, to fruits (cherries are coming in right now – apricots soon), fresh-cut flowers, grass-fed meats and poultry, pastured eggs, organic baked goods, artisans displaying their crafts and prepared food vendors that can fill you up for a quick lunch.
The market prides itself on requiring that all vendors, including those selling food, reside within 100 miles of Telluride. We’re big on keeping our food sources local. Also, growing practices must be better than or equal to organic standards and even prepared food vendors must use at least 75 percent organic ingredients. These rules are in place to assure you the healthiest food possible, grown in the most environmentally beneficial way possible, and are intended to also keep out large mass distributors. In short, all of our vendors are small operators, usually incorporating their families into their operations.
The quality of the products being offered at the market is second-to-none. We frequently talk to out-of-town visitors from California, Florida, Texas and other parts of Colorado who comment that this is the best farmers market they’ve ever seen. It is a well-established market, now enjoying its eighth year.
Of course, we’ve heard feedback from some that the market is pricey. If you compare the food offered up at the farmers market to food at City Market or Wal-Mart, then, yes, some items are more expensive. But have you ever considered the trade-offs in buying cheap food? Organically grown produce has been shown to have higher levels of nutrition than chemically treated produce. Large agricultural corporations use huge taxpayer subsidies to operate cheaply, often exhibiting callous disregard for the health and well being of the environment (and in many cases, their workers). Many food-borne illnesses have been traced to this country’s large factory farms and food processing facilities. And have you ever considered the hidden costs incorporated into subsidized factory produced food? According to numerous studies, industrial food that makes its way to the large supermarket chains will have traveled 1,600 miles before it finds your dinner plate. That, folks, is a lot of energy use. In the U.S. studies have shown that it takes 7-10 calories of energy (in the form of fuel and fertilizers) to produce 1 food calorie. Hmm. Not very sustainable in the long run.
Okay, so you’re thinking, I can buy my organic produce at the grocery store. Why do I need to go to the farmers market? Did you know that a majority of organic food is now imported from distant lands (China, Mexico, Brazil, etc.), usually from un-inspected sources that claim to be “organic”? Or that so-called “organic” meats (and eggs) are no better? These “organically” raised animals – poultry, beef, lambs, pigs, etc. — are actually raised in confined factory settings, following the conventional food system processes, with the only difference being that the animals are fed a diet of organic grains. Sadly, few of these animals will ever see the light of day or be out on pasture. You won’t find that from our growers that participate at the TFM.
Nourish your souls and your bodies with homegrown food that comes from right here on the Western Slope. The growing season is short … gotta go!
We’ll see you at the market!
– Tony Daranyi, president of Telluride Farmers Market advisory committee, Indian Ridge Farm & Bakery, Norwood