So said market manager Marietta Johnson. The warm spring has meant some traditional summer crops have come in early. “We’ll also have lots of greens this week. Some seedlings, some plant starts. Arts and crafts. Jewelry vendors. Some prepared foods, pastries and breads. Live music.
“We’re pretty excited about the move to our new location, too,” Johnson added.
This summer, for the first time, the Farmer’s Market will set up in the shade of the big cottonwoods on the grass of Hartwell Park.
“We’ll be in the southwest corner, across Lena Street from the True Grit Cafe,” Johnson said. “It’ll be more of an event. You can come and let the kids go play while you shop. At our old fairgrounds location, it was kind of out-of-sight, out-of-mind. It was just a little too far for in-town people to walk. In Montrose, people expect to drive. In Ridgway people like to walk or ride their bikes to market.”
Johnson is hoping the new hours, Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be a boon, too. “We think overlapping the lunch hour will be good. People can come down and grab something to eat.” At this point, she said, there are no vendors enlisted to prepare meals. “But we’re working on getting some.”
Farmers Market board member Nicole Greene said the location change for the 12-year-old market should be a good one.
“I think the vendors will be really pleased,” she said. “They were a little worried at first, trading the known for the unknown, but we found CDOT statistics showing that there is actually more traffic on Highway 62 through town than on Highway 550 south. That helped allay their concerns. We think [the in-town location] will become much more of a beloved community event. People can come and hang out. That’s what we’re hoping for: local food from local farms, building a sustainable community.”
Despite her tender years (she just graduated from Montrose High School) Johnson brings lots of experience to her first year as market manager. Her parents own The Daily Bread in Montrose. And the family farm business, called Garden of Eatin’, has been a staple at farmer’s markets for years.
“We have three acres of garden and a small orchard,” she said. “The orchard has apples, pears, some grapes and cherries. We lost most of our apricots to a freeze here in Montrose.”
Of course, as the season goes on, a greater variety of vegetables and fruits will be available. The offerings get richer. “If folks think it is good on Friday,” Greene said, “it’s only going to get better.”
A partial list of vendors for the opening tomorrow includes:
BB Glass Creations, Yankee Boy Farm, SmokeLicked Seasonings, Dads Patchwork Farm, Early Morning Orchard, Mountain Breeze Soapworks, The GreenBakery, Timber Jack Crafts, Southwest Designs in Jewelry, Mountain View Winery, Buckhorn Gardens, The Gardens of Eatin', and Shining Mountain Herbs.
Ridgway guitar teacher Doug Graff will provide the country-folk tunes. He may even bring along some of his more accomplished students.
“We’re expecting a pretty good crowd,” said Johnson. For more information, or to become a vendor, check the website: farmersmarketridgway.com, or call Marietta Johnson at 970/765-6760.