‘All systems go’ for this summer’s farmers market
All systems are go for this summer’s farmers market, according to Lisa Popovich, executive director of Main Street Steamboat. The market opens Saturday and will run each Saturday until Sept. 18.
“We’re back to normal,” Popovich said. “We won’t limit the number of people in the market unless it gets crazy busy. Masks are not required. Vendors are allowed to provide samples again.”
The list goes on: Live music will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., food trucks will be on-site to provide snacks and lunches for hungry visitors, and 150 vendors will sell their wares, ranging from produce, food products, jewelry, art and more.
“A lot of our vendors that took last summer off for various reasons are back this summer,” Popovich said. “We are at full capacity and are totally sold out for the summer.”
Many new vendors join the lineup this year, including The Roaring Cajun, Flowergirls by JAC and The Scattered Woodpile.
Braden Gastineau, owner of The Roaring Cajun, is looking forward to his first year at the market, where he will offer up frozen meals with a Cajun flair. Gastineau typically delivers his meals throughout the mountains of Colorado and has been delivering in Steamboat for the past year.
“Steamboat has been a good market for me throughout the past few months,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of good regulars, and when they told me about the farmers market, I decided to try it out.”
Gastineau’s meals, which are all Cajun comfort foods, like lobster bisque, various gumbos and chili, will be available to preorder and pick up at the market as well.
Another newcomer is artist Jason Erwin and his girlfriend Candy Granger, who recently started the brand Flowergirls by JAC. The pair will sell prints and apparel of the artwork, which features women as flowers, meant to inspire strength and positivity.
Erwin, who recently moved to Steamboat, and Granger hope their first market will give them a chance to connect more with the community while sharing their art.
In addition to new vendors, many past favorites will return for another year.
Kristen Pappas, owner of Alpine Bee Candles, will set up her booth for the third summer, selling hand-poured, all-natural beeswax candles.
“We are hoping the market will be busy again each week, like the years prior to the pandemic,” Pappas said. “Although last summer was still successful, it was not as relaxed. My favorite thing about the market is the sense of community, both within the vendors and the customers. It’s fun to connect with neighbors and meet new people, too.”
Despite COVID-19 protocols last summer, the market still saw about 3,000 visitors per week, who stayed an average of 12 minutes each time.
“I’m really looking forward to a normal market this summer and to seeing all of our friends and visiting with people again,” Popovich said. “We have a lot of new residents now, and there will be lots of questions and need for conversation; I’m looking forward to that.”
New this year is a vaccination clinic that will take place during the market hours, providing free Johnson & Johnson vaccines for those 18 and older. The clinic will take place at least for the first two weeks of the market, and longer, if there is a demand.
“We have a lot of surprises lined up, too,” Popovich said. “We’re trying to do something new and different each week that’s fun and convenient for the community.”
For example, the Routt County Humane Society will be on-site during the market’s second week, June 12, to give vaccinations for pets.
This summer, with 150 vendors, there is something for everyone.
“We’re just excited that everyone is back,” Popovich said. “Local chicken, local beef, eggs, cheese, honey bread, pies, sauces. Plus all the local artisans — artists, painters, potters, jewelers. It’s going to be a great summer.”
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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Steamboat Free Summer Concerts announced Friday that it will return live music to the Yampa Valley this summer in the form of two concerts scheduled for August and September.