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Originally ran on 4/3/08.
As spring appears students look forward to wearing shorts, sprawling out on the Norlin Quad between classes and finally getting to go to the Boulder Farmers Market, which begins Saturday.
“I love the Farmers Market,” said Joe Yeackley, a junior history major. “It’s a chance to support local farmers and be a part of the local community. It’s great news that it starts this Saturday.”
Yeackley is not the only person who has expressed excitement for the big day. Eager sentiments from students and locals alike have been in the air since spring’s sunshine first poked its light through this winter’s clouds.
“I’ll definitely be going to the Farmers Market,” said Hannah Brock, a 20-year-old Boulder resident. “It’s great because you know who raised your food. It’s a good substitute if you can’t grow your own vegetables.”
The Boulder Farmers Market offers locally produced and often organic fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, flowers, freshly baked bread and wine. According to the Farmers Market Web site, none of the suppliers are outside Colorado and most are within Boulder County.
According to Mark Menagh, executive director of Boulder County Farmer’s Markets, there are 88 farmers who are members of the market, and some even sell their products throughout the season.
“There are 12 farmers that are present at every single market while others come and go,” Menagh said.
This Saturday, he said he expects about 15 farmers as well as about 30 food vendors in the food plaza.
In addition to the fresh produce, the market offers a section filled with prepared foods and other activities.
“In the food plaza there are a variety of prepared foods, such as Asian, Mexican and Greek,” Menagh said. “We have a new local pasta maker who will serve fresh pasta.”
He added that the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, which shares the street with the Farmers Market, will host an art tent for kids during the market on Wednesday evenings.
Located at the intersection of 13th and Canyon, the market is open every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and starting on May 7th, every Wednesday evening from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
During these times, downtown Boulder will be bustling with lively chatter and friendly faces.
“The market is a social event,” Menagh said. “It’s in a beautiful public space. There is a real sense of community where people can connect with their neighbors and find out about what’s going on within their own community.”
While the Farmers Market has plenty to offer, for some, the prices at the Market seem unnecessarily high, at least compared to places such as Safeway. Menagh said this is true in a sense, but it is also somewhat of a misconception.
“Prices are competitive because there can be 30 vendors selling the exact same thing. If you buy the most expensive option, it’s going to be top quality,” Menagh said. “Also, tax is included in the price you pay at the Market, whereas at Safeway, you’re taxed on your entire purchase.”
Some students, such as Garret Naughton, a recent CU graduate, said they feel the market is still overpriced. Zach Sparks, a junior English major, said he has a different perspective.
“The quality of the products at the Farmers Market is really high, which is nicer than a lot of other Farmers Markets,” Sparks said. “It’s a great place to go enjoy a nice day.”
Menagh said the advantages of buying locally produced foods are important to keep in mind as well.
“The money you spend stays local, so farmers are able to help maintain a healthy community. The money recirculates,” Menagh said, adding that one of the most favorable aspects of the market is the ability to talk directly with the farmers.
“You can find out exactly how your food is grown, like what kind of growing practices are being used,” Menagh said. “You can’t get that at stores like Safeway or Whole Foods.”
Finally, Menagh acknowledged a final and crucial benefit of buying locally: freshness.
“There’s nothing like eating a green salad that’s fresh out of the ground,” he said.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Lauren Duncan at email@example.com.