Farmer’s market season hits Utah

One of the great things to look forward to during the summer is Utah’s diverse farmers markets – accessible to all residents and visitors and offering a wide variety of outdoor shopping, entertainment and socializing. Local farmers, home-spun artisans and locally owned businesses and restaurants gear up to present themselves and their products to Utah’s penny-wise and health conscious consumer.

Wasatch Front Farmer’s Market

New to Utah’s residents in the Murray area is the non-profit Wasatch Front Farmer’s Market, located at Murray’s Wheeler Historic Farm. Opening day is Sunday, June 12, and will run Sundays through Sept. 25, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. The Wheeler Historic Farm is a restored 75-acre, single-family plot of land formally homesteaded by Utah farmers, Sariah and Henry Wheeler. After Salt Lake County bought the land with the idea to preserve a piece of Utah history, it was placed on the Utah and the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and serves as a visitor destination.

“This farmer’s market is my brainchild,” Maryann Alston, director of the WFFM said. “As an urban farmer and farmer’s market vendor-marketing professional, I am always looking for opportunities to sell my own produce and market others produce.”

Alston said she was walking through Wheeler Farm with her dogs and little boy and thought how great it would be to create a traditional community event to bring more people to the historic farm. With this in mind, the WFFM’s slogan originated—“Roosters wandering. Cows chewing. Farmers selling. Only at this market.”

Vendors are still able to register and plan their summer online and send questions via email to Alston. There is a $20 application fee. Vendor fees are $15 weekly for a full booth, but there is a 33 percent discount for paying for 10 Sundays, and a 50 percent discount for vendors who choose to pay for 16 Sundays. Half booth rentals are also available.

WFFM’s mission statement is ‘to give our community access to a wide variety of fresh, local, in-season farmer and artisan food products direct from the producer; to provide an informal, social gathering place in an open-air setting; to enhance the Wasatch Front community; to support our local growers, crafters and artisan food makers by providing them with direct marketing opportunities in our markets.’

Non-profit organizations are encouraged to apply to promote their organizations at the WFFM, free of charge, but products sold must be made, grown or produced by their members. Non-profits are allowed to present four times a year. Musicians and entertainers are encouraged to perform at WFFM and will be chosen by the market manager. The WFFM is located at 6351 S. 900 East, in Murray. For more information, visit wasatchfrontfarmersmarket.org to apply and download information.

Sugar House Farmer’s Market

In its second year, the board of Sugar House Farmer’s Market report that vendors have doubled in advance this year. The market opens on July 8 and runs Fridays through Oct. 15, from 4-8 p.m. There will be a few changes and new additions to this year’s market.

Amy Barry, vice-chair of SHFM, said the market will expand on the principles originally set up by the board’s vision of ‘creating a family-friendly neighborhood farmer’s and craft person’s market, to provide fresh produce, delicious food and unique Utah products with a local Sugar House flair.’

“Some of the comments I heard were that visitors were overwhelmed by the choices of the food available and they really wanted to learn about the food,” Barry said. “We give preference to small farmers who try to incorporate organic, sustainable food and to those around Sugar House.”

To address these concerns, SHFM is partnering with local non-profits, Wasatch Community Gardens and Slow Food Utah, for the purpose of educating attendees about what is available at the market. An educational booth will present types of foods and the fruits and vegetables available. Passports will be passed out to attendees who in turn will approach the educational booth and collect a certain amount of stickers on each passport. When the passport is filled, visitors to the market will take home a free package of fresh food.

Plans are also in the works to have Steve Rosenberg from Liberty Heights Fresh provide produce samplings. This year, SHFM also wants to incorporate chef demonstrations and increase local entertainment.

The SHFM board will review each of the vendor’s applications and choose about 30-40 vendors for each week’s market. Electricity will also be supplied this year for vendors and entertainment.

The SHFM will be set up in the 1000 East block of 2100 South, between McClelland Street and Highland Avenue (1100 East) For more information about SHFM, go to sugarhousefarmersmarket.com or email the board at sugarhousefarmersmarket@gmail.com.

Downtown Salt Lake City Farmer’s Market

The largest weekly, outdoor market in Utah, the Downtown Farmer’s Market SLC, is in its 19th year at Pioneer Park. Originally created to revitalize Pioneer Park, Salt Lake City’s Downtown Alliance produces and manages the Downtown Farmer’s Market SLC with funds from sponsorships, grants and vendor fees. Beginning Saturday, June 11 through Oct. 22, there are 33 days to visit the DFMSLC, Saturday mornings, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., and later in the summer on Tuesdays in the afternoon for the Harvest Market.

“The Saturday market is a full-blown, spectacular, local extravaganza that includes artists, farmers, non-profits, bakeries, prepared food, packaged goodies, and more,” Kim Angeli, who is in her sixth year of directing the DFMSLC, said. “I have my hands in everything from preparing marketing materials, creating new programs, mentoring new vendors, to hanging banners.”

Angeli says this year the goal of DFMSLC is to build a year-round public market as a lasting project for Salt Lake City. This year, monthly farm tours that will take urbanites to working farms are in the works. The first farm tour will be a cheese and wine tasting in June. Another program being introduced this year is the Pickled Canner’s Club, where members will learn how to preserve seasonal produce through canning.

“The wet spring weather favors cool weather crops. Growers will bring mustard greens, chard, arugula, salad greens, peas, beans, herbs, carrots, cut flowers and more,” Angel said. “A few of our farmers have honed their greenhouse and hoop garden technique to extend the growing season. Don’t be surprised if you find tomatoes in June at the market.”

Tuesday’s Harvest Market is also planned to set up in the same location in Pioneer Park in August. Expect 20-30 booths, and applications are still being accepted at this time. Tuesday nights provide a more laid back atmosphere compared to the crowds that the Saturday morning market can attract.

“We do not supply the booth for vendors, as each vendor is responsible for creating an appropriate space to sell their wares,” Angeli said. “The market provides the infrastructure needed to attract people to the event and to keep them safe and happy while they are there.”

Angeli and her staff provide free parking for vendors and patrons, first aid, restrooms, security, ATMs, a bike valet, a veggie valet, a food stamp program and special events throughout the summer. This year, because of the earthquake in Japan, the annual ‘Toyota Farm to Table Tour’ has been cancelled. But the DFMSLC will hold their annual Chef Showdown in September, which features three local chefs who purchase products from the market and prepare a meal, Iron Chef style. DFMSLC will also present a food preservation series in October focusing on canning, drying, freezing, fermenting and root cellars.

The Downtown Farmer’s Market SLC and the Tuesday Harvest Markets are located at Historic Pioneer Park, 300 S. 300 West. For more information, go to slcfarmersmarket.org.

The People’s Market

In its sixth season, People’s Market will start Sunday, June 12, at Jordan Park in front of the International Peace Gardens on the west side of the city. It runs Sundays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. until Oct 23. As Utah’s quintessential home-grown farmer’s market, this year expect the same laid back, flower-in-your-hair atmosphere with local inventors, entrepreneurs, craftspeople, and farmers bringing a unique array of products to consider for purchase.

“We pride ourselves on being accessible to farmers and craftspeople who are new to the festival and temporary market fairs,” Kyle LaMalfa, past president of People’s Market, said. “We keep our booth fees low and our application process open. Our jury committee considers all applications all season long.”

Stop by the official PM booth on any given Sunday, usually located in the middle of the circle of tables, canopies and tents, where major credit cards and debit cards are taken, and for those with a Horizon Card, voucher tokens for the SNAP benefits program are available. For those that register as a People’s Produce Home Gardner, space is given to sell extra home-grown produce.

The new president of PM is Doug Williams, past market manager and vice president. Williams has been with the PM for the last five years and knows the ins-and-outs of this summer gathering.

“The mission of the market is to help build a more robust food system, small-scale entrepreneurialism, and community-based pride here on the west side,”  Williams said. “I hope to be able to build on that mission by getting more farmers, gardeners and artisans to sign up for the market. I would like to see the market grow some within the next two years.”

Expect PM to present their annual health fair day, a pet adoption day, a book day to celebrate literacy and local artists of the written word and spoken work, and a community yard sale day, which traditionally is also practiced on the first day of PM, as the roots of the market started as a big multifamily yard sale. This year a new open-mic for musicians will be available each week. Check out the website for exact dates for special events.

As an all-volunteer led non-profit, there are 15 board members that head up the committees that help the PM run smoothly. Fees are still the least expensive among farmer’s markets, with a People’s Produce Table Share for $5 a week and a youth-entrepreneur spot for $1 a week. PM is still accepting applications and offers a 50 percent discount on fees for all weeks at the $15 or $20 week level.

This season’s People’s Market Kickoff Party will be held at the Jordan River Park Back Bowery, Saturday, June 4, 3-5 p.m., at 1060 S. 900 West, and the 2nd Annual Seedling Swap & Sale will be held on Saturday, May 14, in the small southwest bowery. The People’s Market is located at 1oo0 S. 900 West, and free parking is available. For more information go to slcpeoplesmarket.org.

Park Silly Sunday Market

In its fifth season, the Park Silly Sunday Market is still looking for vendors, but availability is limited. The PSSM will take place Sundays on the lower Main Street of Park City from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., June 12 through Sept. 25, except for the Park City Kimball Arts Festival, Aug 4-7. Again this year, the PSSM will also feature local farm vendors on upper Main Street at the Park City Main Post Office parking lot.

“We are creating more and more opportunities in this economy for the locals to show their talents – selling their crafts, playing music, letting the non-profits get exposure, and chefs show their talents,” Kimberly Kuehn, PSSM executive director said.

Intended and originally proposed as a green event by current Director Kuehn and past co-director, Jewels Harrison, at Utah’s Non-profit Association Annual Conference, Park Silly Sunday Market’s main goal is to be a ‘zero waste’ project. The first year the market recycled 70 percent of all waste and was voted best recycler by Recycle Utah. PSSM still sends only two bags of non-recyclable garbage to landfills.

According to Kuehn, special promotional appearances at PSSM this year will include Pink Fire trucks to show support for breast cancer, a presence from the Summit County Fair, and KPCW will be featured as one of the weekend sponsors with special events and a show put together by one of Utah’s non-profit public radio stations.

“We are very proud of our community elements which include free space to non-profits, featured chefs and artists, sustainable issues and kid’s activities,” Kuehn said. “We are having the kid’s activities near the beer garden.”

Last year was the first year that the PSSM presented the ‘featured chef’ program and according to Kuehn, it has been a huge success. “The presentation is the perfect opportunity to get more interest in your talents with food,” Kuehn said. “Everybody loves the samples and this program draws a huge crowd.”

As the weather in Park City is usually about five to 10 degrees cooler than Salt Lake City, spending a Sunday afternoon at Park Silly Sunday Market can be a refreshing getaway from the heat and hustle of Salt Lake City during the summer months. The community at large is also known to be more accepting of alternative lifestyles and more liberal ideals. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, cycling, mountain bike trail riding, rock climbing and then visit Park Silly for a bite to eat, great music, or to visit Park City retailers.

Aug. 14 is ‘Paint Park City Pink,’ PSSM’s recognition of Utah’s diverse gay and lesbian community, sponsored by QSaltLake. This year, Nova Starr is expected to perform with a spectacular and unique show on the main stage from noon to 1 p.m. QSaltLake’s own certified culinary chef and restaurant reviewer, Drew Ellsworth, will present a summer entrée with samples and take home recipes at the main stage.

A free bicycle parking garage is available and the Park City bus system is free. For more information, go to parksillysundaymarket.com.

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