Park City Farmers Market now open for business￼
Organic and non-GMO produce available at open-air grocery store
Park City Farmers Market
- When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.. Wednesdays
- Where: Canyons Lower Parking Lot
- Admission: Free
- Web: parkcityfarmersmarket.com
The 2023 Park City Farmers Market opens Wednesday at the Canyons lower parking lot after a couple of weeks’ delay, said Volker Ritzinger, the market’s owner and organizer.
“I pushed back the opening because of all the snow piles that have finally melted at the parking lot,” he said with a laugh. “We didn’t want to deal with the mess with the water and mud.”
The delay, however, proved beneficial, Ritzinger said.
“Since more of the farmers we welcome have greenhouses … there is more produce ready,” he said. “It’s amazing what’s out there right now.”
Park City Farmers Market opens weekly at 11 a.m. and runs through 5 p.m., and Ritzinger said he doesn’t plan to announce a closing date until sometime in October.
“We always find a way to extend the season,” he said. “So we actually close when the last farmer tells me their produce has frozen out. Then we announce it over social media.”
In the meanwhile, the Park City Farmers Market’s season will feature up to 80 vendors from farms and small businesses from around the state, according to Ritzinger.
“We’ll have most of the same farmers and producers as last year, and we’ll start with about 50 this week,” he said. “The only one who is not returning after 25 years is Ranui Gardens, because they retired from going to farmers markets.”
Still, Ritzinger has been on the hunt for new vendors while attending other farmers markets in Utah.
“We have new ones coming out of Salt Lake and other places, so people up here can expect all the greens and radishes and more,” he said. “I sell my bread at different farmers markets, and I walk around and handpick who I think will be a good fit for what we do in Park City.”
The biggest requirement to join the Park City Farmers Market is to grow produce that is organic and non GMO, Ritzinger said.
“My goal has always been to bring the best and healthiest food to the Park City and Summit County communities,” he said. “I’ve worked as hard as I can to find the best farmers in Utah.”
To ensure the food’s quality, Ritzinger inspects each farm that wants to be part of the Park City Farmers Market.
“I don’t want them using chemicals if they want to come to Park City, and if they are using chemicals, I will tell them to make changes in how they grow things,” he said. “Usually they are so happy to get that advice, because they want to get better and produce and sell more of a better product.”
Over the past 25 years, Ritzinger, who also works with other farmers markets including the ones in Ogden and at Wheeler Farm, has seen the growth in the number of farmers who produce microgreens — seedlings of vegetables and herbs such as radishes, kohlrabi, Swiss chard, chicory and more.
“More and more of the young people who are moving to Utah from California and Oregon are into farming, and they have good microgreens,” he said. “They have so much power, so everyone is selling them, and we’ll have 15 to 20 microgreen farmers with us when we open.”
Ritzinger isn’t surprised at how big the farmers market community in Utah has become.
“It’s because people get educated and learn how to eat better and healthier,” he said. “As farmers markets, we just need to stay on top of that.”
The Park City Farmers Market will also feature a handful of non-food vendors, including some clothing and artisan household items, Ritzinger said.
“We also want to let veterans and Native American vendors set up kiosks at the Farmers Market for free,” he said. “We want to give something back to them and let them do their thing.”
For information, veterans and Native vendors can reach out to Ritzinger through parkcityfarmersmarket.com.
The Park City Farmers Market has come a long way in the past quarter of a century. Ritzinger originally moved to the area from his native Austria nearly 26 years ago to play hockey, but saw a need in the open-air grocery store community.
“When farmers markets started in Utah there were only two — Pioneer Park and Murray Park,” he said. “We were the third one, and I’m proud to be on that train that helped build this statewide system to bring fruits, veggies and microgreens to our community.”
Over the years, Park City Farmers Market participants have become like a family to Ritzinger, and his relationship with Vail Resorts, which provides the parking lot space for the market each year, has also strengthened, he said.
The relationship reaches back to Mike Goar, former chief operations officer at Park City Mountain resort, who worked with Ritzinger to get the market going at the resort.
“Back then the area was known as ParkWest, and Mike was always willing to help out,” he said.
When Goar took on new duties as vice president, chief operating officer and managing director of the Andermatt-Sedrun ski resort in Switzerland, Ritzinger began working with Deirdra Walsh, the resort’s vice president and chief operating officer.
“Dierdra has been so nice to work with, and she is willing to help me with the Farmers Market,” Ritzinger said.
Walsh said the return of the Park City Farmers Market to the resort is “a sure and welcome sign of spring.”
“We are proud to have worked with the organizers year after year to create a space where our community can look forward to gathering,” she said.
CONNECT Summit County will facilitate a Mindful Meander from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, at the Swaner Preserve & EcoCenter.
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