Park City Farmers’ Market opens Wednesday
May 30, 2008
Organizers expect as many as 3,000 people to peruse the Park City Farmers’ Market every Wednesday to buy organic buffalo meat, organic coffee, ceramic tile work, goat milk products, fresh Alaskan salmon, handmade clothing and locally brewed beer.
"It’s not a flea market," said market manager Volker Ritzinger. "It’s quality stuff. We tell the people who sell to only bring what they grow, or what you can’t get anywhere else."
Organizers have extended the market’s hours from last year and expect as many as 85 vendors to sell furniture, jewelry, fresh fruit and produce for most of the summer. The event will also feature a beer garden, new this year, according to Libby Dowd of The Canyons.
Starting June 4, the market is open Wednesdays from noon to 7 p.m. It runs through the last week of October, Ritzinger said.
But extended hours have gotten a mixed response from farmers and merchants at the market. "If it’s noon I’m not too happy about that," said Ron Drake of Drake Family Farms. "It’s a little long."
Drake sells goat milk products including milk, vanilla and strawberry yogurt and five kinds of cheese. He does most of his business between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
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Drake makes his products year round, regardless of the weather, but other farmers selling at the market haven’t been so lucky.
"Most farmers are behind this year because of the weather," said farmer Jeremy East. "I’d say we’re two to three weeks behind." He said a long, colder-than-usual winter has delayed lettuce, spinach and baby beets. "We’ll have less time to harvest," he said.
The noon start may be a crunch for East, who picks 150 varieties of vegetable and fruit the same day he sells them. "You wouldn’t think picking the night before would make a difference, but it does," East said. "From a farmer’s standpoint, it’s hard to pick the same day and get to the market. We’re usually an hour late."
East wakes each Wednesday at 2 a.m. and is picking corn on his 300-acre farm in North Davis County by three.
Ritzinger said the noon start allows farmers and merchants to hit the lunch crowd as well as people trickling back into Park City after work. "We changed the hours to accommodate everyone," he explained. "As an organizer, I want to do what’s right for the customer and the people selling."
Ritzinger predicts the long winter may keep some vendors away for the first few weeks of the market, but once the weather picks up organizers expect a crowded venue
. Ritzinger reviewed a near-record 125 applications and accepted about 85 farmers and artisans. "Sometimes you have to say no to some people," Ritzinger said. "I weed it out to make sure the market is local and has very unique things."
Both Drake and East will be there June 4.
"[The market] is great for us," East said, "because you get to talk to consumers directly. You don’t have to go through a broker."
Drake, who milks 140 goats twice a day on his farm in West Jordan, said Park City is an attractive market for his product. "What I like about the Park City market is there are a lot of European people who come through. They say, ‘I’m from France and I haven’t had yogurt like this since I was home.’"
The Farmers Market will be held at The Canyons’ Cabriolet Parking Lot.