Local artists, craftsmen, farmers and other vendors will return to Veterans Park to sell their goods at the year’s first Farmers and Artisans Market on July 1. The market, which is sponsored by the Boulder Area Chamber of Commerce, will be open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Thursday through the summer, according to Market Manager Connie Grenz, who is also a Chamber member.
Grenz said shoppers and passersby can expect to find flowers and other plants, homemade bread, pottery, baked goods, brooms, dishtowels, bird houses, and stained glass—and, potentially, ice cream and other items—at the year's first farmers market. She said the market averages about seven vendors each week. Vendors are required to pay a $5 fee in order to sell their goods.
"It’s really a community thing [where] different people show some of the things they can do," she said, adding that many visitors come to walk around and visit with each other. "It’s such a nice, relaxed atmosphere."
Deborah Colella, a frequent vendor at the farmers market, sells artisan bread, homemade body balms, foot balms and face moisturizer.
"The farmers market is a place to socialize, too, and see people you haven’t seen all year long," Colella said.
Vendors will share Veterans Park with Hutterite merchants, who operate separately from the Chamber-sponsored market, according to Grenz. The Hutterites sell the majority of the fruits and vegetables at the market, she said, because the Boulder area no longer has any large producers after the Boulder Elementary School garden was repurposed and the greenhouse was blown down.
Grenz said the farmers market will have a station to collect plastic recycling, also sponsored by the Chamber. She said the station will accept clean, lidless type-one and type-two plastic, and does not accept clamshell-style containers.
The farmers market was able to operate as usual last year, despite the coronavirus pandemic, Grenz said, because the event took place outside and had fewer than 50 people. Since many other markets were closed at that time, she said, Boulder's market attracted many new vendors.
Many vendors travel to farmers markets across the region, mostly in Butte, Helena, Whitehall, and Bozeman, Grenz said. A "handful" of them come to Boulder every week, but because many vendors try to visit a variety of markets, Grenz said, the market often has different vendors, offering different goods every week.
She said Jim Hatcher, a vendor from Lakeside who makes stained glass and bird houses, is her "right hand man."
"He has, for several years, not missed a single one," she said, adding that he occasionally calls the day before if the weather is bad to make sure the market is still on.
Grenz and Colella were two of the market's founding members and members of the board of the farmers market when it started in 2005, Colella said. However, soon after its genesis, the market board became a committee under the Chamber of Commerce because it did not collect enough revenue to pay for insurance and sustain itself, Colella said.
Grenz said the farmers market is important to the community.
"It’s part of us saying, we do have things in our community, and we can get together, and we can sell our wares at reasonable prices," she said. She added that it is hard to explain exactly what the market adds to the community, but that "when it’s not there, it’s really missed."