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Farmers markets: A weekend tradition worth celebrating

By Chris Michlewicz; photo courtesy of Parker Farmers Market

More than 100 vendors will take over the streets of downtown Parker every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. beginning on Mother’s Day.

The arrival of spring also means the much-anticipated arrival of farmers market season. There are few better weekend traditions than stepping into a busy farmers market on a warm, sunny day and perusing homemade wares, local art, vibrant flowers and baskets full of freshly-picked fruits and veggies. The Parker Farmers Market, a decades-long staple of downtown Parker, will take over Mainstreet and Pikes Peak Drive every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. starting May 9.

Through the end of October, more than 100 vendors, including four local vegetable growers and three Western Slope fruit growers, will set up booths and mingle with the masses.

Because so many Colorado residents have come from somewhere else, farmers markets here are uniquely positioned to offer a wide variety of regional delicacies. Favorites from the South and Midwest (fried okra, anyone? or maybe some bona fide cheese curds?) are mixed in with local must-haves, like juicy Palisade peaches, which come into season in late June and are typically sold throughout July and August.

Every booth is purposely intended to be different from its immediate neighbors, providing a wide variety for shoppers and reducing direct competition between vendors. In addition to crafts of all kinds, consumers will find handmade soaps, pastries, meats, breads and jars containing everything from hot salsas to sweet jams.

The LOCAL Colorado, the company that owns a handful of boutique shops and farmers markets in Parker, Castle Rock and Aurora, said supporting Colorado merchants and artisans is part of the allure. Attendees can “shop happily” knowing they are buying from local vendors and supporting fellow Coloradans, the Parker Farmers Market website says.
With the great outdoors as the venue, farmers markets are tailor-made for the times, since some residents are not yet comfortable going back into enclosed public places.

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