Food, crafts make farmers market a Saturday success

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Where can you get homemade salsa, emu oil, a breakfast kabob, fresh fruits and vegetables and bath salts all in one trip? The Old Town Farmers Market, of course.

The market, which is presented by Main Street Steamboat Springs on the first and third Saturdays of the month during the summer, brings together an eclectic mix of artisans, food vendors and craftspersons from 8 a.m. to noon in the Routt County Courthouse parking lot.

"We think it's been going really well," said market organizer and Main Street Steamboat manager Tracy Barnett. "The number of people who are coming to the markets is really good."

The market is composed of about 25 booths, and Barnett said people call regularly to ask what it takes to be a part of the action.

"There is definitely a lot more interest now," she said.

This is the first year for the farmers market.

The planning for the market began several months ago, and after getting approval from the county and other agencies, the farmers market was born.

Sandy Morris, owner of Ri--sing Sun Ranch Creations, went to 126 businesses in Steamboat to get support for the market.

"I had a 'yes' sheet and a 'no' sheet, and everybody said 'yes,'" she said.

Morris said the market helps bring the community together.

"This town was ready for it," she said.

Morris, in addition to being involved in the planning and execution of the market, also runs her own booth, where she sells natural bath and body products. The bath salts she sells are combined with a variety of herbs that she collects in the forest.

"Most people are looking for gifts and something to take home that is unusual," she said.

One of the most unusual booths at Saturday's market was Wild Willy's, a fun place to stop for a breakfast, brunch or lunch kabob.

Debbie and Wayne Schneider run the booth, which is named for their dachshund, Willy.

"Wild Willy is a concept. Wild Willy makes you laugh, Wild Willy travels, and Wild Willy sells kabobs," Wayne Schneider said.

A breakfast kabob consists of bratwurst, orange and yellow bell peppers, onions and potatoes slathered with a tangy raspberry chipotle sauce and barbecued to perfection.

Wild Willy's also sold watermelon and drinks to its hungry patrons.

"This is our maiden voyage," Wayne Schneider said.

Wayne Schneider grills while Debbie Schneider talks and pushes the product.

"We're really excited to be a part of this market," Debbie Schneider said. "I know something good when I taste it or see it."

Connor Bailey, 2, also knows something good when he tastes it, such as the fresh peaches from Sweet Pea's produce stand.

Connor was visiting the market with his sister, Haylee, 1, and his mother, Rhiannon Bailey. The Baileys live in Colorado Springs, but Rhiannon's family still lives in Steamboat, and she decided to stop by the market during her visit.

"I like this because it is close to my mom's house," Bailey said.

The Baileys sampled a peach and croissants from a bakery booth. Connor also managed to wiggle his hand into a bag of green tomatoes and decided to take a bite out of one of them.

"I was going to make their dad fried green tomatoes, but I guess I am going to have to go get another tomato now," Bailey said as she handed the tomato back to Connor.

Because the market has become so popular, Barnett has decided to extend the market's hours of operation from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in anticipation of late-day crowds.

"Some people like to go to garage sales and then breakfast and then come walk around," she said.

Barnett said there is another market July 30. The last market is Oct. 1.

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