Best Vegan Market 2016 | Nooch | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

It could be argued that Denver's vegan community is centered around Nooch Vegan Market. The shop, now located in Baker after moving from its Larimer Street address two years ago, offers a wide range of products that are 100 percent vegan and cruelty-free — a claim that, currently, no other shop in Denver can make. Nooch is not only a place for longtime vegans to stock up on specialty items like the Follow Your Heart's Vegan Egg; it's also a place where new vegans, or those thinking about making the leap, can go to ask questions of the knowledgeable and helpful all-vegan staff. Nooch also throws community-engagement events like its annual Vegan Prom, with proceeds going to benefit Peaceful Prairie Animal Sanctuary. When it comes to strictly vegan businesses, Denver has some catching up to do when compared with cities like Portland and San Francisco, but thanks to Nooch, vegan awareness and education will continue to grow in the Mile High.

As the little sister of the long-lived and perfectly run Horseshoe Market in Berkeley (winner of numerous past Best of Denver awards), the Jefferson Park Farm & Flea is still growing into itself after its first full season of mixing up the best in open-air local-produce shopping among a curated selection of craft and flea vendors. But there's no doubt that market founder Amy Yetman's concept is a good one, from its placement on the street in a changing neighborhood looking for an identity to its emphasis on keeping the world small by supporting local businesses and encouraging people to pitch in and help one another. When the market opens again in May, urban farmers will be invited to bring donations of excess produce for area food pantries. In return, contributors will be awarded with discount coupons good at market vendor booths — and that's just one example of how Yetman is making the world a better place through conscientious marketing. This year's JP Farm & Flea will run monthly on second Saturdays from May through October.

When the Horseshoe first hit the Berkeley neighborhood in 2010, it was the hottest thing in flea markets: The seasonal market's wondrous mix of food, antiques, clothing and finely crafted wares struck a new note with shoppers and earned our Best of Denver award for three years running. Well, guess what? This year's market is bigger and better than ever. Horseshoe founder Amy Yetman says it all: "The Horseshoe still keeps growing in terms of fans, vendors and customers. And the Horseshoe is still the Horseshoe: nothing too fancy, and welcoming for all — a wonderful community event where folks can shop for interesting lucky finds both vintage and handmade, eat awesome local food, and generally have a great time." Amen.

Readers' choice: Denver Flea
Juliet Wittman

Unlike many of the markets that have sprouted up across the metro area, the Boulder Farmers' Market is true to its name, a place designed so that local farmers can sell their goods and customers can meet the people who produce their food. You can stop by a stall and ask the farmer why your tomatoes at home are dying or how he'd prepare his chard. You can discover new and interesting vegetables you'd never find in the store, buy amazing plants for your own garden, and learn just how that goat was raised. The market also boasts baked goods, coffee, honey, jams, breads, soaps and flowers, as well as a spot where you can sit and enjoy your treats — or just watch the passing parade. And the Boulder Farmers' Market continues to grow, with a popular offshoot in Longmont and, this summer, a market down at Denver's Union Station on Saturdays.

Readers' choice: South Pearl Street Farmers' Market

The most devout of farmers'-market devotees go into shock sometime around January every year, just when the snow seems the deepest and the likelihood of ever getting to browse fresh produce the old-fashioned way again feels irrevocably doomed. Four Seasons can't guarantee locally grown heirloom tomatoes or Western Slope peaches in the dead of winter, but it doesn't throw in the towel when the main harvest season has ended: Even in January, you can find Colorado-grown potatoes and onions in the bins, along with small-batch cheeses, raw milk, jams, baked goods and other handcrafted foods, as well as handmade artisan goods. With spring in the air, expect to find bedding plants and early vegetables in-store, and in the summertime, more vendors will spring up under tents outdoors to accommodate the full bounty of the prime growing season. Grab your shopping bag: Four Seasons is a year-round proposition.

7043 W. 38th Ave., Wheat Ridge
Matt LaBrier

Kind Love's reputation for stellar genetics has been well known since 2010, but until last year, only medical patients were able to experience the frosty, terpene-filled buds that are standard at the Glendale dispensary. Luckily for recreational tokers, Kind Love recently opened its doors to the 21-and-up crowd, and most of us haven't looked back. The pot shop's cuts of Alien Rock Candy, Brodello and White Fire OG made our strain reviewer's list of the 10 Best Strains of 2015 — and two of those were bought at different dispensaries and later discovered to be Kind Love wholesale flower. Aroma, potency and taste are all thoroughly covered in any one of the thirty-plus strains in the shop's library, leaving you with one helluva decision at the bud bar.

Despite the fact that legal marijuana is still in its infancy, incredibles has built up a lengthy list of awards for its candy bars, which include delicious varieties like Strawberry Crunch and Mikiba — a mixture of chia, quinoa and hemp, agave syrup, coconut oil, raspberries and mocha. The potent-edibles maker (most of its bars range from 100 to 300 milligrams of THC) also crafts seasonal goodies, like Pumpkin Spice and New Year's Pop Rocks. With methods that include in-house extraction for consistent hash oil, bubble hash and infused butter, and precise weight tolerances, which allow you to better regulate your intake, incredibles candy bars make for a great after-dinner snack or pre-plane-ride party favor.

Although Illuzion considers itself more of an art gallery than a head shop, the last time we checked, you could still smoke out of the $5,000 pieces of glass inside. Featuring the work of local and nationally recognized glass-blowers, who incorporate everything from nature to pop-culture icons to alien life into their art, Illuzion's gallery may inspire more browsing than buying. But there are still hundreds of less expensive, more traditional options for sale here.

Readers' choice: Purple Haze

Some juices taste great, while others are like licking a piece of bubblegum off the floor. How to know which ones you like? A stop by Mistery Vapor Bar can fix that: The laid-back, fourteen-seat vapor bar here gives customers the opportunity to taste-test anything from the huge selection — about forty right now, with more on the way all the time — and chat with like-minded vapers, as well as the friendly and knowledgeable staff, which is particularly devoted to helping beginners get their vape on. The selection of mods (clone and authentic) means finding just the right experience, and Mistery sells batteries, atomizers and oil tanks for pretty much every brand out there. Also, each day brings a different special — for instance, Tuesdays mean 20 percent off tanks, while Fridays bring $9.99 15ml bottles — and if you're looking for more interaction, the store sponsors vape nights at local bars and clubs (check the online calendar for more info). Can't make it to the shop? The online version of the store features all of their juices, as well as free shipping.

1355 Santa Fe Dr.
Readers' choice: RiNo Vapes
Lindsey Bartlett

Our publication is no stranger to L'Eagle: The dispensary has won numerous awards in our yearly top-ten lists and Best of Denver editions for its talent in the grow room. But the shop also claims one of the finest budtenders in town: Courtney Clark. A pot encyclopedia packaged in a bubbly, pint-sized sweetheart of a woman, Clark can talk shop with master growers or make nervous first-timers feel comfortable about strains and pot products they've never tried before. "I know quite a bit about cannabis, but I still ask Courtney what I should take home with me," says L'Eagle co-owner Amy Andrle. Clark's knowledge and love for her shop's products is hard to put a lid on as she describes Strawberry Cough or indica baklava bites, leaving you smarter — and smiling — on your way out.

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