With summer just around the corner, Denver residents are gearing up for farmers’ market season. Locally grown produce, quality artisanal goods, live music, and exciting cuisine are brought to these markets by farmers, producers, and artists from across the state. Shopping at a farmers market not only helps to support local businesses, but it also provides a healthier avenue for securing fresh produce that hasn’t had a chance to lose nutrients. The impact on the environment is also decreased, as the produce hasn’t had to travel long distances via plane, train, or truck to reach the end consumer. More often than not, it’s from the farmer right down the street.
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How Farmers’ Markets Support Local Economy
Farmers’ markets aren’t just a way to buy and sell fresh produce and locally grown products. They’re also a way to give back to the local economy and help to support small, family-run businesses. The increased foot traffic at local farmers’ markets can also boost customers for other local businesses, such is the case on the South Pearl Street market where many shoppers check out the brick-and-mortar storefronts as well.
Purchasing produce and artisan products at a local market isn’t always the cheapest option. Filling up a basket at the grocery store may be more cost-effective, though there’s a tradeoff between freshly picked fruits and veggies and produce that’s been transported 1,000+ miles from a state located across the country. Not only does this increase the carbon footprint of the food, but it also decreases the nutritional value of a piece of fruit, for instance. Extended exposure to light and air after being picked can result in a loss of vitamins and minerals, which inevitably affects the end consumer.
Where? Cherry Creek Shopping Center @ East 1st Avenue and University Boulevard
When? Wednesdays 9-1 from June 14th through August 16th & Saturdays 9-2 from May 6th through November 4th
The Wednesday Cherry Creek Fresh Market has a little bit of everything and provides locals with a midweek produce haul. The Saturday market is referred to as “the big one,” and features a high-quality variety of Colorado growers and unique vendors. The event is organized by Colorado Fresh Markets (CFM) and has been running for over 25 years. The market hosts locally acclaimed chefs, pro-gardners, and live music. The market also gives back to non-profits such as the Dandelion Project and Hunger Free Colorado.
The innovative concept for this fresh market is to provide fresh products in a community-oriented setting. This model has since been widely emulated across Colorado and has successfully supported hundreds of food producers. The bustling marketplace is set in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, which is the state’s top shopping and tourist destination. From colorful fresh blooms, locally grown produce, and artisanal products — the fresh market has something for everyone, as well as delicious homemade cuisine for breakfast and lunch.
PRO Tip: During market hours, parking at Cherry Creek is free.
Where? Church of the Cross @ 28253 Meadow Drive
When? Tuesdays 10-2 from June through September
The Evergreen Farmers’ Market has been a staple since 2000 and is hosted rain or shine. This mountain farmers’ market sells local produce, as well as seasonal products. Organizers Loredana and Jay have been involved with local markets for over two decades and while they understand that shopping locally isn’t always the least expensive option, it’s a sustainable method for supporting the local economy and giving back to local farmers and growers.
Evergreen Farmers’ Market hosts returning favorite vendors each year, as well as emerging artists. The market is pet-friendly and shoppers are encouraged to bring their pups along. Evergreen residents, as well as Denverites, will find locally sourced produce that was picked less than two days before it reaches the hands of consumers. Instead of the product sitting on a truck or plane for upwards of a week, the produce is at its freshest and retains nutrients, and preserves the agricultural landscape of the Centennial state.
Where? Green Valley Ranch Town Center Park @ 4890 Argonne Street
When? Wednesdays 5-8 from June 1st through August 31st
The Green Valley Ranch Farmers Market focuses on a different area of sustainability each week, providing education to locals wanting to delve deeper into the topic and discover new ways to support the practice. The market also features live music from local artists, as well as an array of family-friendly activities. The produce ranges from organic and locally-grown microgreens to homemade baked goods such as European pastries and quiches, to fresh dairy products, and a spread of honey, jams, and jellies. For caffeine lovers, there are also vendors selling tea and coffee.
Vendors at the market include the family-owned and operated Longmont Dairy Farm, which produces fresh milk and is one of the two remaining farms in Colorado that sells their milk directly to customers. The Thrift Shop Gardner has a “design your own” planter station, as well as botanically themed decor items. New to the market during the 2023 season is The Baked Cottage, which sells homemade baked goods to shoppers with a sweet tooth. Visitors will also find handmade crafts and jewelry, making the farmer’s market the perfect spot to find gifts for upcoming birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.
PRO Tip: The farmer’s market is put on by GVR Community Events, which also hosts local events such as movies in the park, holiday tree lighting, and the unity festival.
Where? 7301 South Santa Fe Drive
When? Wednesdays 10-2 from June 15th through September 28th
The Metro Denver Farmers Market also hosts a market on Sundays at Highlands Ranch from May through October, as well as a Saturday market at Southwest Plaza and Lakewood. Locals can pick and choose which ones to visit across the three days, always ensuring that they have fresh produce at home to whip up delicious homemade meals. The Littleton market is located in the Aspen Grove Lifestyle Center and features fresh produce, as well as handmade soap, scarves, baked goods, and even handwoven baskets. Those wanting to lower their carbon footprint can hop on the light rail from Denver to Aspen Grove.
The Metro Denver Farmers Market began over 40 years ago in downtown Denver. Originally, the market was hosted in a campus parking lot. The market has grown by leaps and bounds since then and even accepts EBT cards as payment, providing all Denverites with the opportunity to enjoy the freshest possible fruits and veggies. Some of the vendors include Rocky Mountain Rice Company, Domenico Farms, Snow Creek Ranch, and Martindale Farms.
PRO Tip: The farmers market hosts a website that includes fresh recipes that inspire creative ideas for all of the locally grown produce sold by farmers.
Where? 13th Street (between Arapahoe Avenue & Canyon Boulevard)
When? Wednesdays 4-8 from May 3rd through October 4th & Saturdays 8-2 from April 1st through November 18th
The Boulder County Farmers Market provides a weekday and weekend shopping experience. They also run a thriving online marketplace that allows locals from Boulder, Longmont, and Lafayette to shop from the convenience of their homes and fill up their online cart with the best selection of the week. The organization has been around since 1987 and has since amassed over 150 vendors who are all dedicated to providing nourishing food from the Colorado region. Each purchase is funneled towards the year-round work of advocating for equitable food access and supporting local agriculture.
This market is one of the most highly regarded farmers’ markets in the state and the organizers are dedicated to providing a family-friendly, equitable, and publicly accessible chance to secure local goods and fresh produce. The market is producer-only, meaning that every farmer and rancher has grown their own produce or raised their own animals. This ensures that the market is giving back to the local economy, instead of sourcing products from outside the state.
PRO Tip: Unfortunately, no pets are allowed at the farmer’s market. Leave the pup at home while you’re sourcing your weekly haul of fresh treats.
Where? City Park Esplanade @ 2551 East Colfax Avenue
When? Saturdays 8-1 from May 13th through October 28th
The City Park Farmers Market doubles as a compost market, meaning that all disposable goods served within the market can be composted for free. This helps to keep the market sustainable and decrease the amount of waste put forth by the event. Consumers can buy from local growers and producers within their community, which helps to reduce packaging waste and processing and transportation pollution. Not only that, shopping at a farmers market is the best way to get fresh, in-season produce that hasn’t been sitting on a truck for days at a time.
Vendors at City Park Farmers Market include Wild Wick Farm, Monroe Organic Farms, Centennial Cuts, Hearth Baker, 3rd Bird Kombucha, and Urban Roots. In total, over 60 Colorado-based vendors sell out of the farmer’s market. The event is put on rain, snow, or shine and is especially bustling on sunny Saturday mornings. Shoppers are encouraged to grab a cup of locally roasted coffee and a bite to eat while they peruse the market, listening to live music and finding ingredients for upcoming meals. Monthly chef demos are scheduled to inspire shoppers via small bites handcrafted by renowned Denver chefs.
PRO Tip: The City Park Farmers Market puts together a weekly newsletter that includes vendor and music updates, recipes, and farm visit blog posts to keep the public informed and in touch.
Where? Denver Union Station Plaza @ 1701 Wynkoop Street
When? Saturdays 9-1 from June 3rd through September 16th
The Union Station Farmers Market is located in the heart of Denver and is organized through Boulder County Farmers Markets, which is a nonprofit organization that’s been operating since the late 1980s. This market was founded in 2016 and has been a large hit with the community, especially due to the unique atmosphere and local chefs that work in Union Station. Visitors will find chefs either shopping in the market or serving food from their restaurant patios and even participating in weekly demonstrations.
The farmers market boasts a highly impressive list of local producers and vendors who provide farm-fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and dairy products, and prepared goods such as coffee, condiments, and homemade baked goods. Over 40 farmers, ranchers, and vendors sell out of the Union Station Farmers Market. The welcoming space is a popular meeting spot for friends, family, and neighbors who want to come together to support local businesses and invest in their community.
PRO Tip: Anybody seeking a free fitness class before the farmers market opens can arrive by 8 AM and get a quick workout in before they do their weekly shopping.
Where? 1527 South Pearl Street
When? Sundays 9-1 from May 7th through November 12th
The South Pearl Farmers Market stretches between South Pearl Street’s 1400 and 1500 blocks. With dozens of vendors, food trucks, and local merchants, consumers can spend the entire day browsing. Fresh produce and goodies are offered all summer and through the fall. The event is managed by HobNob Events, which strives to support and enhance the surrounding local community by providing a high-quality experience for locals. Vendors include Blanchard Family Wines, Cream City Market, Five Freedoms Dairy, Future Foods, Mile High Pie Company, and The Bread Box.
Before accepting a vendor, the market ensures that all products are grown, raised, or produced in the state of Colorado or bordering state counties. This ensures that the money spent at the farmer’s market directly impacts the local economy and also allows for only the freshest food to be sold to shoppers. The market is open rain, snow, or shine and is only canceled during extreme conditions that would lead to an unsafe event. Live music is also put on by the event organizers and includes names such as Herman Gauche, Hank Williams, MicroGrass, and The New Ben Franklins.
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