Off the Hill with Tricia Swenson: Vail Farmers Market & Art Show is Sunday favorite | VailDaily.com

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Off the Hill with Tricia Swenson: Vail Farmers Market & Art Show is Sunday favorite

If you've ever tried to grow tomatoes up at this altitude, then you're probably familiar with disappointment as the climate offers a short and challenging growing season. Luckily, the Vail Famers Market & Art Show brings in a colorful bounty from regional farms each week.

What started out 15 years ago with a few booths has grown to 135 tents and spans over 16 weekends throughout the summer. It has become one of the largest markets in the Rocky Mountains.

With more and more people trying to eat healthy and buy more food sourced locally and regionally, farmers markets have become very popular. Colorado is known for its Olathe sweet corn, stone fruits from Palisade and melons from Rocky Ford. Wine grapes grow in Colorado, too, allowing some small wineries to produce wine within the state.

But the market goes beyond produce. There are plenty of prepared foods you can take home. Loredana's Pesto has been a staple at the market for many years with its marinated cheeses, marmalades and tapenades.

AnnaVail is new this year. Ann Kurronen recently set up shop in Eagle and specializes in cow and sheep's milk cheeses.

What's for dinner? Take home some sustainably caught Alaskan wild salmon from Kaleb's Katch. There is something for every palette.

The Vail Farmers Market & Art Show is also a great place to just grab lunch. They have a vast selection of food vendors from a gyro from Nicky's Quickie to organic fare from Green Elephant Juicery or a decadent pastry from Alpenrose.

There are also plenty of artists showcasing their works at the market. Cold Mountain Crafts offers hand-cut and hand-sewn leather journals. Alpine Wine Design gives new life to wine barrels in the form of beautiful, functional and unique furniture and accessories. The artists, photographers and craftsmen are present during the show, which gives market goers an opportunity to learn more about what inspires them and ask about their techniques.

Whether you are looking for something in particular or just want to browse, spend Sundays at the Vail Farmers Market & Art Show. This weekly event runs from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. through Oct. 2.