Park City Farmers Market will open 2 weeks early this year
Outdoor event celebrates 20 years under Volker Ritzinger
Last year’s Park City Farmers Market opened two weeks late, so organizer and founder Volker Ritzinger found a way to balance things out: He plans to start the event two weeks early this year.
“Some of the non-food vendors — the ones who sell clothing and jewelry — that we didn’t accept last year weren’t able to make any money because of the pandemic,” Ritzinger said. “So, I told them that we will open early this year so they can get a jump on things.”
The market will officially open on Wednesday at the Silver King parking lot at Park City Mountain Resort. Gates open at 11 a.m. and admission is free.
In addition to giving the jewelers and clothing vendors a chance to make some extra money, Ritzinger will let Spencer’s Smokin’ Grill provide the lunches during the first few weeks of the market.
“They have been hurting, so I decided to have them do the lunches,” he said. “My bakery, Volker’s Bakery, will still sell bread, but we won’t be selling any pizzas. I want them to make some money first.”
Ritzinger said there will be some produce available Wednesday.
One of the produce farmers that will be present on the first day of the market is Madsnacks Produce, which is based in Oakley.
“I just picked up a whole bunch of greens from them,” Ritzinger said. “They have carrots, kale, lettuces and baby onions. They’ve been with us for three years, and the Park City Farmers Market is the only farmers market they do.”
Ritzinger promised he would add more produce purveyors throughout the season.
“You will see more farmers coming in during the next couple of weeks,” he said.
This year also marks the 20th year of Ritzinger running the Park City Farmers Market.
“The market started in 1999 at Park City Mountain Resort, and in 2001 the resort was going to close it in August, because they were going to set some things up in the parking lot to prepare for the 2002 Olympics,” he said. “That was when most of the apples, peaches and other fruits were in season, and I wanted to take care of the farmers.”
So, Ritzinger made arrangements to take over the market and move it to the cabriolet parking lot at what was then The Canyons.
“We didn’t miss a beat,” he said. “We closed one Wednesday at Park City Mountain and then opened the next week at Canyons.”
In June 2018, the market returned to Park City Mountain Resort’s Silver King parking lot due to construction at the Canyons lot.
“It was like we went full circle,” he said.
Last year, when COVID-19 found its way to the Wasatch Back, Volker worked with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to come up with social-distancing adjustments for the Park City Farmers Market that were adopted by other farmers markets in the state.
“We were the only market of its kind in Park City last year, because all the other events were canceled,” he said. “We were able to open, because we were an outdoor grocery store.”
The Park City Farmers Market won’t have too many rules this year, because of the vaccinations and the state’s and county’s easing of the outdoor mask mandates, Ritzinger said.
“If people don’t want to wear masks, we won’t force them to, but we will have some free ones available in case people want them,” he said.
The market will still maintain a marked entrance and exit, as well as a spread-out dining area, Ritzinger said.
I want people to feel a little freer,” he said. “If I see people bunching up in lines, I will make sure they are 6 feet apart. That’s a no-brainer. I just want people to come to the market and enjoy the outdoors.”
Ritzinger said the past two decades have been a “cool journey.”
“The Park City Farmers Market is my baby,” he said. “I really care about making sure Park City has access to the best foods that are healthy, organic and have no GMOs. I also care about the farmers. I want to make sure they make some money. Without the farmers, we don’t have a market. We’ve become a little family over the years.”
When: Wednesdays starting May 19, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Silver King parking lot at Park City Mountain Resort
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