Boulder County Farmers Market
In the mid-1980s in Colorado, "small-scale farms were dropping like flies," says onetime farmer Bob D'Alessandro. "So a group of Boulder County farmers got together and started a farmers market, in the hope that selling directly to the public would save the existing farmers and encourage more people to go into it. And that actually has happened!" In the process, the downtown Boulder Farmers Market has become a cherished resource in the community, and a destination for foodies from across the region and the nation.
"People really enjoy being able to buy food they know was picked fresh within the last day," says D'Allessandro, who now heads the nonprofit that runs the downtown market and a sister Longmont location. "And in an era when words like 'natural' have been taken over by the merchandisers, shoppers appreciate being able to talk about growing practices with the person who actually grew the food." Vendors at the market include multigenerational ranchers, organic produce farmers — and frankly countercultural food entrepreneurs. One example: Fans of the grape can buy from Augustina's Winery, which turns Colorado-grown grapes into vintages with names such as Boulder Backpacking Wine and WineChick White (tasting note: "A summer-sipping wine great when accompanied by a trashy novel.")
After working at the market as a teen, Boulder native Justin Perkins returned there to launch a line of natural-ingredient, kettle-roasted nuts in spicy flavors such as mango chipotle and cinnamon cayenne. Now products from his Olomomo Nut Company (a name Perkins coined to mean "a state of bliss") sell at Colorado retailers and online, and have been featured on cable TV's Cooking Channel. "Boulder's really sort of the epicenter for the natural and organic foods movement in general," Perkins says. "We're lucky to be a part of that."
13th St. between Canyon and Arapahoe, Boulder, CO 80302
Saturdays: 8 a.m.-2 p.m., first Saturday in April through third Saturday in November
Wednesdays: 4-8 p.m., first Wednesday in May through first Wednesday in October
The same market association operates the Longmont Farmers Market at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Road, Longmont, CO 80501; Saturdays 8 a.m-2 p.m. from the first Saturday in May through the last Saturday in October.