Outdoor farmers market season comes to Wheat Ridge

Posted

Four Seasons Farmers & Artisans Market in Wheat Ridge has moved — outdoors, that is.

The market has partnered with Ridge at 38 and Local works to enlarge its summer outdoor market as a regional Saturday destination on West 38th Avenue, with double the number of participating farmers and other vendors.

The Ridge at 38 Four Seasons Outdoor Market launched on May 13 and occurs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays through Oct. 28. There also is space for expansion of the market along the north side of West 38th Avenue, thanks to neighboring Aspen Dental.

Four Seasons Farmers & Artisans Market was founded by Margaret and Dick Barkey of Colorado Wise Acres Farm in Fort Lupton, as part of the former Urban Homesteading venture on south Sante Fe Drive. When Urban Homesteading closed in May 2015, the Barkeys knew there was still a need for a year-round indoor market, for customers and for farmers and vendors.

Along with other vendors from Urban Homesteading, he and Margaret looked for several months for a place to host an indoor market, says Dick Barkey.

“The Wheat Ridge community was so welcoming, and with the right space and parking, we launched Four Seasons Farmers & Artisans Market,” he said. “Now, we’ve expanded in this location to include the Ridge at 38 Four Seasons Outdoor Market.”

The markets are located at 7043 W. 38th Ave. in Wheat Ridge with the only year-round indoor farmers market in the Denver area, says Rosalind May, program coordinator. The market highlights unique farm-direct products including local vegetables and fruit, raw cow’s and goat’s milk, cheese, salsa and pasta sauce, jelly and jam, baked goods, free-range chicken eggs and duck eggs, flowers, organic grains, and beef, pork, lamb and bison from grass-fed operations.

Several local artists exhibit their works at the markets. Art on display includes western photography, jewelry and paintings.

In addition to about 25 indoor vendors, the outdoor location hosts another 25 or so vendors. Market vendors such as Harlyn Griffith are pleased with the outdoor expansion. Griffith Enterprises, LLC, offers metal sculptures and keepsake boxes, as well as his own pickled asparagus and beans.

“The vendor tents along 38th Avenue attract even more people to the market,” says Griffith. “I enjoy it here. There’s a real homey atmosphere, especially for families, and I see people come here to stroll around and just relax. Besides,” he notes, “they can save a lot of money.”

Ashley Holland is the marketing and events coordinator for Localworks, a community-based, nonprofit development corporation advancing Wheat Ridge as a vibrant and sustainable community. “Localworks and Ridge at 38th are excited about partnering with Four Seasons Farmers & Artisans Market to produce the outdoor market,” says Holland, “and help attract customers from around the metro area to Wheat Ridge.”

Candace Tomlinson, a resident of Wheat Ridge, says she’s “thrilled” having the farmers markets in her neighborhood.

“I want to do local, but I also want new and different items. And I like talking with the vendors about their goods,” Tomlinson said.

Dick Barkey emphasizes that the focus of the markets is on healthy local Colorado products. Although their foods are not certified organic, producers are held to an organic standard to assure the highest quality, he said.

“Our produce comes from farms and gardens right around the neighborhood,” said Barkey. “In the winter, we offer ‘most closely grown’ produce from different regions for our customers.”

In fact, Barkey has helped form a neighborhood co-op of local gardeners.

“People have these great urban gardens and they have more vegetables than they know what do with,” says Barkey. “But they don’t really want to man a booth at a farmers’ market, so we do it for them. You can’t get food any fresher than this unless you picked it from your own garden.”

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment