Livewell Northwest Colorado: Visit family friendly Farmers Market
June 5, 2016
When you think of summer family activities in Steamboat Springs, the options are nearly endless. Hiking, biking, tubing the river, soaking in a hot spring and fishing are popular activities every day of the summer. Riding the Alpine Slide, exploring the rural scenery on horseback or flying high in the sky in a giant hot air balloon are activities rarely missed by summer visitors. Live outdoor music performances draw large crowds throughout the summer. Everywhere you turn, there are family friendly adventures just waiting to be had.
One of my all-time favorite things to do with my kids during the summer is visit the weekly Saturday Farmers Market. When I arrive, I make a beeline to the heirloom tomato vendor, hoping to beat my friend, Lori, there for the best of the bunch. My daughter likes to peruse the jewelry vendors while sipping freshy squeezed lemonade. My son goes for some locally produced beef jerky first, followed by a crepe and then a gelato. My husband finds the unmistakable aroma of roasted nuts and the sight of plump, juicy Palisade peaches irresistible.
Throughout the morning, we weave through the busy maze of food and crafts, visiting with friends while stocking up on fresh-baked bread, chunky salsa and healthy local produce. Sometimes, a homemade jam, a bag of tasty popcorn, a jar of local honey or a fresh apple pie ends up in my basket, too, though everything disappears quickly once we get home.
Visiting the arts and craft stands, I am impressed with the talent and creativity of the local and regional artists who create colorful stained-glass pieces, textured metal art, Western-themed paintings and photos, intricate wooden statues and furniture, repurposed antler and horseshoe creations, unique baskets and rugs and whimsical, yet practical clothing items.
The weekly Farmers Market is the quintessential Steamboat experience, because just about everything there is created by a local artisan, farmer or chef. With ingredients often sourced from right here in the Yampa Valley, many products are organically grown, without the use of antibiotics or pesticides.
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Purchasing local products is environmentally friendly, cutting out the need for carbon-producing packaging materials and transportation. Buying directly from local producers allows you to have interesting conversations about their goods and creative processes.
This summer, treat your family to a weekly trip the Steamboat Farmers Market, and enjoy the sights, the smells and the flavors unique to Steamboat Springs.
The Steamboat Farmers Market is held downtown, rain or shine, each Saturday at Seventh and Yampa streets. The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 11 through Sept. 17, though if you're looking for heirloom tomatoes, you'd better plan to arrive before I do.
Local farm fresh products are available year round through the Community Agriculture Alliance Marketplace. Order online at localfoodmarketplace.com/communityagalliance.
Kristi Brown, MPH, is the health and wellness coordinator for Hayden and South Routt school sistricts, a trustee of Yampa Valley Medical Center and a member of the Northwest Colorado Food Coalition.