Mainstreet Farmers Market continues to grow in Steamboat
August 11, 2012
Steamboat Springs — These days, it's hard to miss the Mainstreet Farmers Market, staged on Sixth Street in downtown Steamboat Springs on Saturdays.
Now in its eighth year, the market has grown from 15 booths during its first year to 75 this year. Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett said an estimated 2,500 people passed through the market during a busy Steamboat Wine Festival weekend Aug. 4. She said this is the most successful year for the market.
"The point of having the farmers market downtown is to get people out of their cars," Barnett said. "Hopefully they will come to the market and shop and dine downtown."
The market, which runs for 14 weeks, is popular with residents and visitors.
"I think it gets busier every summer," said Marie Winter, who runs the popular Northern Lights Jewelry booth. "It's a great place to meet everyone and make a decision about what you are going to do for the day.
The market not only draws people downtown, but booth space rentals now make up about 25 percent of the budget for Mainstreet, which promotes the downtown area.
"It's a major fundraiser for Mainstreet," Barnett said.
Vendors begin applying to be part of the market in January. Discounts are offered for a full-season commitment, but the fee to attend only one market is $45 for a food vendor and $50 for a non-food vendor. Nonprofits are charged $25 but are given booths for free if space is available. On Saturday, volunteers were registering people to vote, cheerleaders were doing face painting, and Boy Scouts were raising money for one of its own who is suffering from a brain tumor.
To be fair to the vendors, Barnett said efforts are made to make sure there are not too many vendors selling the same items. The market includes jewelry, furniture, toys, logs sculpted into bears, clothing and a variety of art.
Barnett said the farmers market always could use more food vendors, and she wished more produce was available.
"It's not as much of a farmers market as we would like it to be because we grow meat here," Barnett said. "As far as getting produce, that's a challenge."
Currently, food options include a variety of meats, pastas, select produce, burritos, kettle corn, breads, pastries, snow cones and ice cream.
Regular newcomers to the farmers market this year include Ruth Abate's Buffalo Gal Ice Cream & Goodies ice cream truck and Granola Gold, a homemade granola company started by Diane Lekarczyk. Adam Mackey's portable wood-fired oven is proving to be popular at his Embers Wood Fired Pizza booth.
"It was really good," 11-year-old Mariam Worster said.
Barnett discovered one of her favorite food items after purchasing two whole chickens from Yampa Valley Farms and cooking them on a rotisserie grill.
"You'll never buy another grocery store chicken after you've had one of these," she said.
The farmers market goes from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays through Sept. 8.
"I love it," Barnett said. "I don't know what to do with my Saturdays when it's over."
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com