Farmers Market Spotlight: Community Cultivation program
Tips on getting there:
There is limited parking near the Farmers Market so be sure to plan ahead. Plus, it makes for a great morning bike ride.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Get acquainted with the flavor of the Main Street Steamboat Farmers Market, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday at the corner of Yampa and Seventh streets through Sept. 15.
Each week, 150 local and regional vendors bring their bounty to the market, featuring fresh produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, canned and prepared foods, handcrafted art, lotions, soaps, jewelry, furniture, clothing and much more.
Don’t know where to start with this many vendors to choose from?
Meet the Yampa Valley Autism Program’s Community Cultivation Program.
The Yampa Valley Autism Program is a nonprofit group focusing on assisting individuals and families living with autism or other disorders. In 2009, YVAP started a work-readiness program that uses a horticulture framework that integrates social and life skills curriculum to help participants build work-related skills and self-sufficiency.
Years at the Market: 4
Specialty: Run mainly by students living with autism or other disorders from Routt and Moffat counties, the bounty they sell comes from eight raised garden beds at the Yampa River Botanic Park as well as the solar greenhouse behind Rocky Mountain Youth Corps where there are another six raised garden beds.
“They can be outside and see the whole process from planting a seed to watching it grown, then selling it at the Farmers Market,” said Emily Schweitzer, YVAP program director.
Growing items like kale, lettuce, broccoli, carrots, celery and a variety of microgreens, the students harvest these items for the Farmers Market or through Innovative Agriculture, a microgreens and mushroom farm that sells the products to local restaurants.
“They really have a chance to apply what they’re learning,” Schweitzer said. “Just watching them interact at the Farmers Market with the community, telling people about what they’ve grown or made. It’s so cool to see, and they really do love it.”
Factoid: Be on the lookout for products made by the students, as well, including dog biscuits, essential oils, soaps, salt and sugar.
Be on the lookout: Explore will be highlighting a Farmers Market vendor each week this summer.
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