Fresh herbs, delectable greens and other early spring garden goods will add bright hues to the first market of the summer. Shoppers can also expect the market’s array of baked goods, meat, eggs, and cheese, as well as jewelry, body care products, arts, and crafts, to spring up on Oak Street on Friday as well. The more vibrant tomato reds, carrot oranges, cherry burgundies, and more will be unveiled later in the growing season.
“We have a lot of the old vendors returning this year, some new vendors, as well as some returning vendors expanding their repertoire,” says Brian Bebb, manager of the Telluride Farmers Market. He explains that a change in policy this season will permit more vendors to sell similar items so shoppers may find a more extensive selection of products.
In addition to becoming a summer tradition, the Farmers Market is also an essential step in moving the community toward a more sustainable future, according to Regional Sustainability Coordinator Kris Holstrom.
“It re-connects us with local food, and helps us begin to develop relationships with our local farmers,” says Holstrom, a farmer herself. “From a sustainability standpoint, [the Market] is exactly where we need to be going to promote the production of more local foods.”
Another dimension of the market’s sustainability is its fundamental commitment to shrinking consumers’ carbon footprints. From field to fork, an average dinner travels 1,500 miles; that’s approximately 27 times more “food miles” than goods bought from local sources. All those extra food miles equate to a tremendous amount of fossil fuels used to truck food across the country, haul it over oceans and fly it from different continents, according to the website www.sustainabletable.org.
Goods found at the Telluride Farmers Market have by and large been produced within 200 miles of Telluride. By buying locally grown produce and regionally raised meat, shoppers are reducing their carbon footprints significantly. Telluride Farmers Market food is “fresh, local and organic – that’s the best of the best,” says Holstrom.
Thanks to the market, local refrigerator shelves can be stocked with locally produced foodstuffs throughout the summer, but what about the rest of the year? The Telluride Farmers Market will address that issue through a series of educational programs, to be held throughout the season at the Friday market.
“We want to help people have better success in gardening in our region, promote preserving locally grown food for use out-of-season… basically, we’re trying to answer the question of how we can create a year-round food shed in our region,” says Bebb.
On June 27, local gardening experts will present a “High and Dry” gardening class, to help green thumbs get a successful start with their summertime gardens. A trough/container gardening class is scheduled for July 11, designed for those who don’t have the outdoor space for a full-fledged garden.
The Colorado State University Extension Office will then host a two-part series on canning, on July 25 and August 8. The market’s educational series will culminate with the Sept. 19 class “Putting a Garden to Bed.”
The classes will be held from 2-4 p.m. at the market, and are free.
The Telluride Farmers Market is open Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oak Street, June 13 to Oct. 17 (weather permitting.) The July 4 market will be moved to Thursday, July 3.
For more information or to see a complete market calendar, visit www.newcommunitycoalition.org. The market manager’s booth will also be open during normal hours, selling T-shirts and shopping bags (available by the Bluegrass market, June 20). Bebb adds that the organization is looking for both financial sponsors and volunteers. To become a sponsor or volunteer, email Bebb at email@example.com.