VAIL VALLEY - Open-air markets will pop their tents for the first time this season in Vail, Edwards and Eagle this weekend; Minturn's market will open the following weekend, on Saturday, June 23. Farmers market patrons can expect to find familiar vendors from last season, and some new ones this year. All these markets host small businesses testing new products, artists and craftsmen showing off their work, and local farmers selling produce.
Gabrie Higbie, who oraganizes the Eagle and Edwards markets, believes strongly that the produce found at a farmer's market is far superior to what's found at the supermarket.
"It's just better food; you're getting farm fresh food that was literally picked that morning," she said.
While fresh produce and local art is a staple of any farmer's market, each one in the valley offers something unique from the others.
Eagle: Fridays, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., today through Aug. 17
The Eagle farmers market is in a new location this season: Eagle Ranch Village. Market organizers hope this residential, neighborhood location will attract more vistors. Moving locations has also attracted twice the vendors of previous seasons. Being one of the smaller markets in the valley, 25 vendors will set up this afternoon.
Expect to find three organic farmers this season, including Leroux Creek Nursery from Hotchkiss, which is well known for its tomatoes. Although the Eagle and Edwards' farmer's markets are both organized by Higbie, Eagle will feature 11 vendors that will not be in Edwards the next morning. Visit www.townofeagle.org.
Edwards: Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Saturday through Sept. 15
The Edwards market, which takes place added new restaurants to their vendors list this summer, including an ethnic option. The Last Course will have a booth selling desserts and pastries. Ghandi India's Cuisine, from Carbondale, will serve up Indian food, both to eat at the market and take home. Also, expect to find Alaskan salmon at this food-centric market. Pets are welcome at this market. Visit edwardsfarmersmarket.com.
Vail: Sundays, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sunday through Sept. 16
Located on Meadows Drive in Vail Village, the Vail Farmer's Market hosts Colorado farmers, Colorado artisans and musicians. In its 10th year, the market features more than 129 tents, with kids' activities, fruit, vegetables and art. According to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, Colorado asparagus season is just finishing; but, cherry, strawberry, rhubarb and lettuce season is just beginning. Vail market organizers expect that vendors will be selling these Colorado-grown fruits and vegetables starting Sunday. Free parking will be available at Golden Peak and Lionshead. Visit www.vailfarmersmarket.com.
Minturn: Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., June 23 through Sept. 8
The Minturn Market begins next weekend, and will host more than 100 local and small businesses in downtown Minturn. In addition to spotlighting unique crafts and fresh produce, this market, the first local farmer's market in the area, puts a premium on creating a community experience. Throughout the summer, the market will host community events such as a pie bake-off and a tomato taste-off in July and August, respectively. When it opens on June 23, the market will offer a fairy garden building workshop for boys and girls.
"The sense of community of the Minturn market is stronger than the others," said Lisa Osborne, who has been shopping at the Minturn Market since she moved to the town in 2006.
Parking is available in the municipal lot across from the Turntable restaurant. Visit www.minturnmarket.org.
Vail Daily intern Stephen Kasica can be reached at 970-777-3190 and found on Twitter: @stephenkasica.