Steamboat farmers market to expand

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— The Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Farmers Market will expand after all.

Mainstreet Steamboat Manager Tracy Barnett decided to expand the 2012 farmers market by 10 booths after getting the go-ahead from the Routt County Board of Commissioners to use the alley between the historic courthouse and the adjacent annex building.

Barnett had initially worried that it wouldn’t work because so many of the existing vendors use the alley to access the market that runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 9 to Sept. 8 on Sixth Street between Lincoln Avenue and Oak Street.

But she changed her mind.

Now Barnett envisions that as an area where she can locate many of the produce and food vendors that attract so many people to the farmers market.

“That’s what I see,” she said. “It will be a premium draw. It will be like the anchor.”

Barnett said she thinks the alley could be a thoroughfare to the rest of the market. She said local vendors Cider Fixins, the Oasis of Craig, Cacklin’ Hen Farm and Lay Valley Bison Ranch would be among those located in the alley.

Heather Philmon, who owns Cider Fixins with her mom, Sandi Nelson, said they’re looking forward to being located in the new area of the farmers market. This summer will be Cider Fixins’ second year selling jams, salsas and simple syrups at the market.

“A lot of people park at the courthouse and they walk that area,” she said. “A lot of people sit in the grass there on the courthouse lawn. I don’t think there’s a spot that’s bad.”

Barnett said longtime favorites Sweet Pea Market and Rockin J Cattle would be located on both ends of the farmers market.

In addition to providing 10 more booths — bringing the total to 77 — Barnett said the extra vendors would generate about $5,000 in additional revenue for Mainstreet, which is the same amount by which the city of Steamboat Springs reduced its funding support for the nonprofit organization in 2012. A primary fundraiser for Mainstreet, the farmers market generated about $25,000 last year.

The $30,000 Barnett expects the farmers market to generate this year is about 21 percent of Mainstreet’s 2012 operating budget to promote and improve downtown. The city, member dues and other fundraisers provide the bulk of Mainstreet’s funding.

Barnett said she found space for the 80 vendors that applied to participate, but she still has some dates and one or two full-season booths available. She said any vendors who have yet to apply for the farmers market can call her at 970-846-1800.

This year’s expansion could affect future growth, Barnett said.

“If this works, well, I don’t know, we’ll have to see if we can expand into the parking lot next year,” she said. “We’ll see.”

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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