Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show kicks off summer season Sunday, June 19
If you go …
What: 16th-annual Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show.
When: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (produce stands open at 9:30 a.m.) Sundays, June 19 through Oct. 2.
Where: E. Meadow Drive, Vail Village.
Cost: Admission is free.
More information: The market is pet-friendly. Bring your own bag and refillable water bottle to the event. Visit http://www.vailfarmersmarket.com for more information.
the Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show kicked off its 16th summer season Sunday, June 19, with more than 135 vendors selling local produce, food and art every Sunday through Oct. 2 on East Meadow Drive.
“We’ve expanded our vendors and added more variety and selection for patrons to experience and enjoy,” said Angela Mueller, Vail Farmers’ Market executive director. “From the freshest produce, beautiful local artisans, great food and top local music, the Farmers’ Market truly is a celebration of summer in the Vail Valley.”
Beth Telthorst, owner and operator of Trout Creek Farm in Buena Vista, one of the market’s new vendors, said she heard about the event via word-of-mouth from fellow vendors at the Dillon Farmers Market and was inspired to secure a booth.
“All the vendors that go to Vail really like it,” she said. “They said it’s a great experience, great market and vendors do really well there.”
Telthorst grows vegetables, herbs, flowers and raises a few pigs — “just a couple because they are so fun” — on her two-acre, sustainable farm, and she sells her products through area farmers markets and community-supported agriculture shares.
“The other people who bring a lot of produce to Vail are from warmer areas of the state, so they bring a lot of warm-season things, tomatoes and squashes,” Telthorst said. “I can’t really grow any of those because of our elevation. I grow a lot of greens, beets and carrots and cool-season things that I grow year-round.
“For this first market, we’ll have baby kale, spinach, radishes, rhubarb; mid-June is still really spring for us. It stays relatively similar throughout the year, heavily focused on greens. Pretty soon I’ll start bringing flowers, which I’m really excited about.”
Mueller said the board for the Vail Farmers’ Market really took the time to find the right fit when bringing Trout Creek Farm into the fold.
“We had a greens farmer for many, many years, since the market started, Morales Farms out of Granby,” she said, adding that the farm’s owner, Carol Morales, has since retired. “She was phenomenal, and we are excited that Trout Creek Farm is carrying very similar produce to what Carol had.”
Produce stands open at 9:30 a.m., a half-hour before the rest of the market. In June, expect to find farmers selling cherries, tomatoes, summer squash, apricots, cucumbers, peas, arugula, kale, salad mix, onions, garlic and new potatoes. More in-season fruits and vegetables, including Colorado peaches, will be coming soon.
New food vendors
With more than 40 food vendors and restaurants serving up everything from juice and coffee to barbecue, market-goes can grab brunch, lunch or snacks while shopping.
Osha Groetz, chief operating officer of Green Elephant Juicery, another new vendor, said she and her business partner, Leo Flynn, thought it was important to be a part of the community in which their business was built, so they decided to bring their packaged snacks and food, along with their signature juices and smoothies, to the market.
“Last summer, we were in a farmers market, and people loved having us in it and we loved being in it,” Groetz said. “The Vail market is gorgeous, having all the artists there and all the delicious food. Our home base is here in Vail, so we wanted to have an organic, healthy presence at the market. People were asking us why we weren’t here.”
Green Elephant opened in November 2014 and now has three locations — a home shop in Avon, a drive-through in West Vail and a store in Lionshead Village — and also sells its products through a few retail outlets. The Vail Farmers’ Market was a logical next step to introduce the public to more of the company’s offerings.
“We’ve found that over the past year and a half that people just love it, and a lot of times, people are shocked to know that we make food, also, so that’s a good thing to be in the market so that we get to showcase and display that, as well,” Groetz said.
The Green Elephant booth will sell packaged granola, blueberry and cookie dough bites, almond milk and two flavors of almond cheeses — an Italian sun-dried tomato-basil and almond feta — in addition to a full lineup of smoothies and juices, including a rose-water lemonade that’s “really refreshing,” Groetz said.
“We have a lot of gluten-free options, and everything is plant-based,” she said.
Artisans and others
Mueller said the curators of the market, a board composed mostly of Meadow Drive businesses, try to keep a balance of about 20 percent artisans; 20 percent prepared foods, such as crackers and dips and other things you can take home; 20 percent restaurant-style, ready-to-eat food and the balance a mix of farmers and local businesses.
In addition to Trout Creek Farm and Green Elephant Juicery, other new vendors this year include longtime Vail Italian restaurant La Bottega, Eagle-based artisan cheese maker Ann Kurronen’s AnnaVail organic cow and sheep’s milk cheeses and European-style cafe eats from The Blu Cow on Bridge Street.
“We didn’t want it to be too crazy, so we choose really unique items so it can really fit that Vail brand,” she said. “Anybody that is at the market has to have items that are made in Colorado. If you are an artist and are showing, you need to be there; that artisan has to be in the tent showing the pieces. That has helped us create something that really sticks, and we don’t have random people showing up with random stuff.”
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