The snow has melted (for now), the tulips are dancing in the breeze and the trees are starting to leaf out. And, once again, local farmers and purveyors are making the journey to Boulder, Longmont and Denver to sell their farm-fresh produce and hand-crafted wares at the Boulder County Farmers Markets.
The pandemic disrupted the markets in 2020, but ultimately led to some pretty cool innovations — and the team behind BCFM did a great job of pivoting to help ensure that local farmers could survive these challenging times and that local residents could still have access to fresh, healthy, delicious foods. BCFM now offers year-round, curbside pickup for the first time in the organization’s 30-plus year history, for example.
“With the establishment of curbside pick up earlier this year, we created new, efficient systems to put Colorado farmers’ food into consumers’ hands, that allow us to operate through winter,” says Brian Coppom, Boulder County Farmers Markets executive director. “After some of the challenges we’ve had with COVID-19, this is a welcome opportunity to expand the ways we serve the community.”
Now, the markets are once again open for in-person shopping this spring, summer and fall.
“When COVID-19 hit, we created new opportunities for local growers and were able to connect growers, ranchers and packaged vendors to connect to the community every single week,” says Coppom. “Reopening the markets provides another critical avenue for local farmers and producers as our markets are the community’s largest access point to local agriculture.”
The markets look and feel mostly as you remember them from pre-pandemic days — with a few COVID-19 safety-related adjustments and tweaks.
You can walk up to the markets at whatever time you like, or you can reserve a shopping time for each of the markets. They’re also open to vulnerable populations — people over the age of 65 or most susceptible to COVID-19 — from 8 to 8:30 a.m.
Some other COVID-19 changes to the markets include: limited food court seating, no live music, no non-profit booths and no market bucks.
The markets have also instituted one-way walking paths and are encouraging shoppers to keep a six-foot distance between other shoppers and vendors. They’re also encouraging credit cards over cash for the time being.
The Longmont and Boulder markets reopened on April 3. The Boulder Wednesday evening market kicks off on May 5, and the Denver Union Station Saturday market kicks off on May 8. The Boulder Saturday market is open from 8 a/m. to 2 p.m. and the Wednesday market is open from 4 p.m. to dusk. The Longmont Saturday market is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Denver market’s hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Lafayette market is closed for the time being, but may reopen sometime later this summer. Check back for more details on the Lafayette market.
Also per usual, you’ll find a wide selection of locally grown fruits and vegetables, local meats, local packaged goods, plants, seedlings, services like knife-sharpening and more. An added bonus of shopping at Boulder County Farmers Markets is that local food systems are connected with increased biodiversity and environmental health, more direct local economic spending, better food access for low-income residents and improve livelihoods for farmers, says Coppom.
The farmers markets have a number of programs and initiatives in place to help support low-income residents’ access to local foods, including Fruit & Veg Boulder, SNAP, WIC and Farm to Early Care Education.
Though its still early in the growing season, already Boulder County farmers are bringing their abundance to the markets. Black Cat Farm, for instance, says it has organic produce like onion bunches, leek bunches, spinach, kale, arugula, mixed lettuces, tatsoi, chervil, arugula flowers and miner’s lettuce. They’re also bringing organic plants and seedlings, in case you feel like doing a little of your own gardening at home. In recent weeks, they’ve got: brocolli, cauliflower, tomato, stock flowers, snapdragon flowers and herban tea garden plants and seedlings.
You can find more information about the Boulder County Farmers Markets in Boulder, Longmont, Denver and Lafayette — as well as more information about all the various local vendors at the markets — online: bcfm.org
New Colorado Farmers Market
This year, there’s a new Colorado farmers market on the block. It’s called the City Park Farmers Market and it’s in Denver, opening May 15.
“We’ve really curated our selection of local producers, farmers and artisans to provide a food-focused experience for guests,” says Peter Wanberg. “Local produce is the foundation of a farmers market and everything else we’re doing is built around that.”
If you find yourself in Denver on Saturdays through Oct. 30, or if you have friends nearby, consider stopping by to support the new market and its vendors at East High School Esplanade, 1600 City Park Esplanade in Denver.
You can find more information about the new market online: cityparkfarmersmarket.com