Pick your produce | ParkRecord.com

Pick your produce

ANNA BLOOM, Of the Record staff

Ron Drake will bring goat’s milk, goat cheese, goat yogurt, goat soap, and goat lotion from West Jordan’s Drake Family Farms this Wednesday for 2007’s first Park City Farmers Market.

He readily admits "a lot of people think goat milk stinks," but at farmers markets, he has the opportunity that grocery stores can’t give him: he can convince people to give it a try. Since he began coming to the market six years ago, he’s sold his products to Deer Valley, Fairweather Natural Foods and the Yarrow, he says.

"We have samples. We let people sample it right there. It’s a little sweeter than cow’s milk," he explains. "People are surprised."

Drake Family Farms has been in his family since 1880, and give Drake a moment, and he can explain in detail the goats’ diet (alfalfa, corn, barley and molasses with a mineral supplement), what’s better about goat yogurt (it’s tangy like European yogurt) and why goat’s milk is superior to cow’s milk (it’s easier to digest "cow’s milk has fat molecules five times the size Goat’s milk’s chemical makeup is almost the same as mother’s milk," he says.)

He gets feedback at markets, too. One woman told him goat’s milk cured her daughter’s ear infection, he says. Another said that her baby finally gained an entire pound after switching to his milk.

Later this year, he plans to introduce goat milk ice cream in chocolate and vanilla, he says.

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"I love it everything else is work, but farmers markets are just fun," Drake explains. "I’ve got friends that come back every year. You get to watch their kids grow up."

Drake also makes connections. Park City’s Farmers Market differs from Salt Lake’s Downtown Farmers Market, because Park City draws a crowd from beyond state lines and sometimes from outside of the country. "There are a lot of people from Europe that come to Park City and a lot of people from other states Maryland, New York, Ohio make it to the market," he says. "Later, we get an e-mail saying, ‘hey, I bought some of your cheese or yogurt or soaps and I want to order more."

The Salt Lake Downtown Farmers Market may be the biggest market, but Park City is the second biggest, according to Volker Ritzinger, owner of Kamas’ Volker’s Bakery and manager of Park City’s Farmers Market.

"A lot of markets only allow people in from their own state, but I open it up to other people, too," he says.

New this year is Park City’s Mountain Massage Studio, and buffalo meat from Green River, Wyo., High Mountain Distributors.

This year he sifted through 120 applications, accepting 90 for his market. He said he chose artisans with unique, handmade goods and as many farmers as he could.

"A lot of markets in Utah you go to are called farmers markets, but you show up, and there are only one or two farmers," he says. "My deal is to make sure we have enough farmers and that the farmers are treated really well, because you don’t have a farmers market without farmers."

Missing at this year’s market will be Earth Mother’s Creations soaps, since the company is in the process of relocating to California. The market has also changed its hours. It will now be held from 2 to 7 p.m. It will continue to be held in the Canyons Resort’s parking lot.

On Wednesday, Ritzinger expects the produce ready to market will be strawberries and lettuce. There won’t be much, since many of the farmers’ produce won’t be ready yet.

Sustainable agriculture farmer John Garofalo will be harvesting greens for a secret spicy and bitter greens salad mix, spinach and lettuce for his stand. Garafalo runs Ranui Gardens with his partner, Sue Post, near Hoytsville.

"Specialty greens we offer all the time that’s our gig," he says. "We have the advantage of having cooler temperatures."

Later on in the season, he plans to sell items Ranui doesn’t offer to local grocery stores, such as beets, tomatoes and carrots.

"The big thing about farmers markets is getting to know the peson you’re buying from and asking questions," he says.

For Ritzinger, it’s also about the experience.

"I’ve sold to Costo and Wild Oats, I’ve sold to everybody," he says. "But if it just sits on the shelf next to Wonderbread — it doesn’t have the same personality, you know? If you go to a farmers market, you can really get to know the guy that makes the produce. It’s a different story than going into a health food store and reading the label."

The Park City Farmers Market takes place Wednesdays from 2 to 7 p.m. in The Canyons Resort Farmers Market through the fourth week of October. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityfarmersmarket.com .