CO-Horts Blog

Thursday, August 29, 2013

It Doesn't Get Any Fresher: Farmers' Markets

By: Alison O'Connor, Horticulture Agent...and manager of the Larimer County Farmers' Market in Old Town Fort Collins
Some of you may not know this, but I moonlight as a farmers' market manager.  Ok, it's actually part of my job in Extension and while it's a lot of work, it's also a lot of fun.  Especially this time of year, when EVERYTHING is in season.  I have to restrain myself when I'm working the market, as it's easy to have my eyes (and wallet) feast on the latest offerings from our vendors.  If you haven't visited your local market lately, check it out!  The Colorado Department of Agriculture has their Farmers' Market listings online.  If you're in the Fort Collins area, visit the Larimer County Farmers' Market, open Saturdays, 8am-noon trough October 26 at the Larimer County Courthouse (200 W. Oak Street in Fort Collins).  Stop and say "hi" to the hard-working Larimer County Master Gardeners who ensure the market is open each Saturday....and try to stump them with your gardening questions.  Don't have one?  Then try to stump the Master Food Safety Advisors!

Why should you shop at a market?  There are so many reasons.  Interested in canning or preserving?  Vendors sometime offer discounts for bulk quantities (hello peach jam in the middle of January).  Looking for some new greens to perk up your salads?  Vendors have 'em.  Want a 1.3 pound heirloom tomato?  Look no further than your farmers' market. 
It's a meal in itself. Cherokee Purple in all her glory.

And if all of that doesn't tempt you to shop at your local market, then maybe these photos will...  (I'll let you grab a tissue to wipe the drool.)  Many of us have wonderful gardens, but none of us can grow everything.  Special thanks to Master Gardener Michelle Wilde for her fantastic photos!

Sometimes I wonder why I don't eat tomatoes...
especially when they look as good as these.

Going to a dinner party? 
What impresses the host more than fresh cut garden flowers?

Eggplant parmesan...where's the homemade tomato sauce?

Apples means that fall is coming, but there's still plenty of summer left.

Confession: I have consumed 7 (!!!!) watermelons this summer. 
By myself.  Thank you very much.

Sweet corn is like candy on a cob.

I made strawberry jam last weekend and there's nothing better. 
Strawberries are also a great snack!

Peaches are the current darling of the market.
So visit your local farmers' market.  Give them a high-five for their hard work.  Challenge yourself to make a meal from the market...I bet you can do it.  Most markets also have bread, meat, eggs, dairy, honey, salsa, sauces and even wine.  And I'm sure you'll find dessert too.  Or just eat more sweet corn.
The vendors are always glad to see you.


  1. Or if you live near Windsor, you can visit the Windsor Farmers' Market! It's located on 5th off of Main Street in Windsor. The Market is open Saturday's (thru Sept. 21) from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm. Live music, fresh produce, and lot's of fun :)

  2. The Windsor Market is fab! And they also have Master Gardeners you can stump with your questions. Kudos to Carrie, the Town of Windsor and her hard-working CMGs :)

  3. Good and informative post about Ash trees. And thanks for sharing the further links where we can learn more about the safety for these productive plants. If we love our environment, we have to step up and save them for the future.