Farmers Market Spotlight: Sugar Creek Farm
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When you think of the classic farmers market, the Sugar Creek Farm near Milner embodies what you’d expect of a vendor — local farmers bringing their goods to an open market to sell.
Ally Johnson and Kyle Badertscher can literally pick their greens right before they head to the Main Street Steamboat Farmers Market every Saturday morning during the summer.
“We definitely have a following of customers that come early that want our stuff before we’re even set up,” Johnson said.
Sugar Creek doesn’t have the fancy signs or the built-out portable buildings you can see at modern farmers market, just fresh greens and herbs that customers can pick out and bag up.
“We do a lot of heirloom lettuces, head lettuce, Italian and French varieties,” Johnson said. “There’s always new varieties coming up.
Customers often tell Johnson and Badertscher that supermarket lettuce just doesn’t match up to their fresh-grown greens.
“We get customers who tell us it’s the best salad they’ve made in their life,” laughed Johnson.
What: Sugar Creek Farm at the Main Street Steamboat Farmers Market
When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17
Where: Seventh and Yampa streets between Sixth and Eighth streets
And since they’re only 8 miles from downtown Steamboat, Sugar Creek Farm tries to keep prices affordable.
“You know how farmers markets are usually more expensive? Well, we try to be competitive with grocery stores,” Johnson said.
Badertscher has a horticulture degree from Colorado State University and tends to their growing little farm off Routt County Road 179 while Johnson leads local yoga sessions when she’s not farming.
They come by their skill with the soil honestly. Both were landscapers in Steamboat for a decade.
“When we landed this property and started tilling the ground, it was the best soil we ever laid our hands in,” Johnson said.
Their greens, flowers and herbs are becoming so popular with restaurants, florists and the farmers market, Badertscher is building a huge hydroponics system that will allow them to grow 500 more plants they can tend at waist level. They expect to seed sooner in the spring and last longer through the fall.
Johnson said Sugar Creek’s spinach is very popular in the early summer, but warmer weather is not good for spinach so shoppers should expect to see delicious Italian chard this weekend instead. She also suggests the farm’s fresh heads of garlic that simply explode on the palate compared to what is found in the supermarket.
The Steamboat Farmers Market goes from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday on Yampa Street in downtown.
Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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