Mid-May is an exciting time for the Colorado State University community. It signals the end of the spring semester, commencement and three months of summer. One event that kicks off on May 16, from 8 a.m.-noon, is the Larimer County Farmers’ Market, located at the Larimer County Courthouse, 200 W. Oak St. The market is unique in that it’s the only grower’s-only market in the county, which means the growers grow what they sell.
CSU Extension operates the market
CSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers run the market each Saturday and are on-hand to answer your gardening questions. Looking to can or freeze produce? CSU Extension Master Food Safety Advisors are also present to make sure you preserve your produce safely.
Tony Koski, CSU Extension turfgrass specialist and Master Gardener, volunteers at the market nearly every Saturday. Koski says, “As an Extension employee and volunteer it’s exciting to see how people and agriculture connect every Saturday. Vendors and customers get to know each other on a first-name basis and their children have the opportunity to see who grew their food. This is an example of another successful Extension program—connecting communities with local agriculture.”
Celebrating 40 years
The market is celebrating its 40th year in this location, and nearly 100 vendors will sell products throughout the 24-week season.
The market has humble roots and started as a way for the backyard gardener to bring extra produce to sell to the public. The LCFM still welcomes backyard farmers, cottage food producers and “mom and pop” businesses to vend on Saturdays, as long as they meet the guidelines of growing, producing and making their own products. Farms range in size from urban lots to hundreds of acres.
“The market has wonderful, dedicated and supportive vendors,” said Alison O’Connor, Extension horticulture agent and market manager. “The market has grown in the last several years and has become a destination in Old Town. We see new faces each week, but have customers who’ve shopped with us for decades. It’s truly a community event.”
Again this year, the market will assist low-income customers by matching food stamps (SNAP) up to $10 each week throughout the season. LCFM accepts major credit cards which can be redeemed for “market bucks” to spend with vendors. To purchase market bucks, stop by the Master Gardener tent. Vendors also accept cash and some accept checks.
Farmers’ market details
Dates: Saturday’s, May 16 to October 24, 2015
Time: 8 a.m. to noon
Location: 200 W. Oak Street, Larimer County Courthouse, Fort Collins
Phone contact: (970) 498-6000
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Alison O’Connor at email@example.com