Vail Farmers’ Market returns at (nearly) full strength
After a 2020 season restricted by COVID-19 protocols, over 100 vendors return to the streets of Vail Village to sell locally-sourced goods and reconnect with customers.
The Vail Farmers’ Market is officially back for the summer season. This Father’s Day marked the first of 16 markets that will take place every Sunday from now until October 3rd. The energy in the marketplace is palpable as local vendors and shoppers alike are excited to return to the streets at nearly full capacity.
Last year the number of vendors was reduced by 55% and crowds were limited in order to accommodate COVID-19 protocol. This summer there is no restriction on visitor capacity, and over 100 vendors will line up on East Meadow Drive from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to sell food, art, clothing, activities and other locally-sourced goods.
Food, Glorious Food
When the tents are out, the village is filled with the smell of freshly baked bread and pastries, the spice of Thai and Mexican food, the heat of barbecue and bratwurst smoking on a grill, and the sweet, sugary goodness of chocolate and mini donuts. There are hot sauce stands, spice racks and creative honey varieties, all ready to be washed down with fresh lemonade and iced tea.
For those seeking fresh fruits and veggies, visit Scott Romsa at the Eat a Peach stand in front of Solaris Plaza. You’ll find him surrounded by baskets of nutritious plants harvested from all over Colorado.
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“I have a different hit of the week every week, and it’s been the cherries and the mini heirloom tomatoes for me this time around,” Romsa said. “Nature’s skittles are what I call them. Just try one, you’ll see what I’m talking about.”
Support Local Startups
In addition to being a food lover’s dream, the Vail Farmers’ Market also plays an important role as a promoter of small, local businesses.
For first-time vendor Ryan Criscuolo, the farmers’ market is an opportunity to re-invigorate his 2019 startup after a difficult pandemic year. Criscuolo is the owner and founder of NOCO CBD, which specializes in wellness products created from herbs, honey and hemp ingredients sourced from Northern Colorado.
“We opened up a storefront to start 2020 and had to close it and watch business get really tight,” Criscuolo said. “We had to struggle to withstand last year, and worked really hard to build up our product line to be able to come here and represent it properly. We feel like this is going to help us to kick off again, and I’m just really grateful for the opportunity.”
Shop Online at the Virtual Vail Farmers’ Market
Since the Vail Farmers’ Market could not host many in-person vendors last year, the organizers created a digital marketplace to continue giving local businesses the support and exposure they needed to survive the pandemic.
Rachelle Miller is the owner and founder of Bespoke Provisions, a kitchen and homegoods company. While she was unable to show her goods in the live marketplace last summer, she was pleasantly surprised by the support that she received through digital events.
“It was just very sweet and cool when you’re feeling so separated during this past year to know that people were thinking of you, and knowing that they want to support your brand and buy your products,” Miller said.
This summer, Miller is back at the live market with a booth near Solaris Plaza.
“I take a lot of pride in being a local company and female-founded, and I’ve noticed that since I’ve started doing events like this, especially in Colorado, people really want to support small businesses and show a lot of loyalty,” Miller said.
For those who are still skittish about crowds, or who just prefer to do their shopping from the comfort of their couch, the digital version of the Vail Farmers’ Market continues to be available online. Items can be ordered directly from vendors and most items ship for free anywhere in the United States. Shoppers also have the option to place orders for curbside pickup in Vail Village. All curbside orders must be placed online by the end of the day on Thursday, and can then be picked up between noon and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
For a complete list of vendors and access to the virtual marketplace, visit vailfarmersmarket.com. Free parking is available at the Vail Village and Lionshead parking garages.