Sugar House to Open Sweet New Summer Market

Generally considered one of the most active neighborhood pockets in Salt Lake City, Sugar House boasts an active outreach campaign by Westminster College’ staff and faculty, a diverse Sugar House Merchant’s Association and Community Council, and a separate group of merchants and community leaders that all desire to promote Sugar House as a great place to live.

And this summer, a conglomerate of these various economically concerned citizens will present Sugar House Farmers Market at Monument Plaza, 1100 E. 2100 South, each Friday from 3 p.m. through dusk July 9 – Oct. 15.

“The Farmers Market idea has been tossed around for several years — there was even a small one before,” said Lydia Martinez, Chairwoman of the Sugar House Farmers Market Board. “The idea this time was a result of the Sugar House Summit hosted by Westminster last fall. We started as group of five and have grown to a committee of around 35–40 and a board of nine.”

Martinez is employed by Whole Foods Market and has a background in event planning and management. She volunteered to head up the committee and board in putting this summer’s market together. The rest of the board members and committee are all volunteers and concerned citizens.

The Sugar House Farmers Market is independent of the Sugar House Merchants Association, but the committee and board have partnered with the association this year on a number of tasks: promoting the market, gathering information about the area and working with the various city departments to establish the market. They’re also working together to get input from the diverse group that has participated in making the Sugar House community and district what it is today.

“The Sugar House Farmers Market is an independent business entity, and registered with the state as a Utah charitable organization with long term plans to apply for federal non-profit status,” said Martinez. “Some local businesses that have been involved directly are Whole Foods Market, Fairmont Aquatic, Traces, and the Utah Fruit & Vegetable Association.  We’ve received lots of friendly advice from the Downtown Farmers Market, the People’s Market and others.”

The groups’ outreach letter reads: “The mission of the Sugar House Farmers Market is to create a family-friendly neighborhood farmers & craftsperson’s market, to provide fresh produce, delicious food and unique Utah products with a local Sugar House flair.  The organizers hope to bring the Sugar House community together through food and fun, and to provide a new opportunity in Salt Lake City for local growers and food and craft artisans to sell directly to the public.”

Martinez says there will only be about 25 booths this year as space is very limited. Though no parking space is designated, parking can usually be found in the area around local business plazas — which are usually open after employees go home for the day early in the evening.

“There is a cost for vendor participation, however, it is very moderate and in-line with the other farmers markets in Utah,” added Martinez .“The City, County, Board of Health, and Department of Agriculture are all involved in the permitting for the market.”

Sponsors and volunteers are also needed to pull off the weekly market and a website is currently being put together. Sponsors who do not sign up immediately will be considered throughout the run of the market and next year if the market is successful.

“We are still looking for sponsors for this summer’s market and will work with anyone interested in showing their public support of the market.  We are also open to in-kind donations,” said Martinez.

The market hopes to attract urban farmers, small entrepreneurs who specialize in homemade crafts, and food businesses. The goal is to have at least 50 percent of vendors to be growers, a category which includes farmers, beekeepers, ranchers and plant sellers. The Sugar House Farmers Market will also feature a booth for children with activities, and live music. Local non-profit organizations will also be allowed to present their causes and fundraisers and educate the public.

Vendor applications have been turned in and the market will present a schedule in the next couple of weeks. As the community is generally all-inclusive with many gay and lesbian business owners in the area, expect a diverse and accepting attitude at the bend in the road next to the fenced, open field that has recently been planted and landscaped.

For more information about Sugar House Farmers Market, visit sugarhousefarmersmarket.com. Though under construction, it is scheduled to be completed in a few weeks. If interested in being a sponsor, performing at the market, or presenting a non-profit group, contact the market at sugarhousefarmersmarket@gmail.com.

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