While Denver sports fans celebrated the Colorado Rockies' home-opener weekend, folks in Boulder came out to enjoy the pleasant weather for opening day of the Boulder Farmers' Market on Saturday, April 6. The morning couldn't have been finer as the sun shone, the temperature hovered around 60 degrees and the normal pesky spring wind remained calm. Farmers, artisans and shoppers enjoyed the launch of another growing season, shaking off a chilly winter to dig into spring produce.
"We spent months waiting and dreaming about warm weather and spectacular produce, and it's here," said chef/farmer Eric Skokan of Black Cat Farm, Black Cat Bistro and Bramble & Hare. "Today the real magic is seeing all the friends and community I haven't seen all winter; it's like a homecoming."
Though the morning didn't get too packed, plenty of people wandered around sampling pretzels, salsas and sauces, chatting with growers about what they had in stock and picking up prepared food to take to the vast lawn right next to the market.
Tender greens and baby lettuce filled the stalls, along with thick winter carrots and other stored crops such as potatoes, onions and parsnips. At Cure Organic Farm, this was the mainstay, along with fresh eggs and the promise that more will be coming as spring continues. Black Cat Farm had tons of tasty greens, a fridge full of pork and lamb and a stack of lamb-skin pelts — something, Skokan says, he will have more of down the road.
"It's good, it feels like summer has officially started," said Jake Hader, a farm hand at Black Cat Farm in Niwot, over a basket of Siberian kale.
Over at Aspen Moon Farm, the highlights included black radishes, several carrot varieties and beautiful orbs of yellow onions that looked almost too perfect to eat. Toohey & Sons Organic, which is only doing the Boulder market this year, had an abundance of lettuce, and Honeyacre Enterprises offered hothouse green beefsteak tomatoes and one lone red one. The mushrooms at Hazel Dell Mushrooms proved bountiful, and Ollin Farms offered plenty of pretty purple daikons.
While the produce hasn't started to really pour in yet, there were plenty of other options for shoppers — namely, meat. Jodar Farms offered pasture-raised chicken, pork and fresh eggs. Triple M Bar Ranch had cuts of lamb, and at nearby Wisdom's Natural Poultry, eggs and chicken were the hot items. And to help home gardeners get off to a good start, John Ellis, one of the founding members of the Boulder market, had hefty bags of compost ready to go.
"What else would I do on Saturdays?" Ellis mused. "It's my social outlet, since I work the other days of the week."
Other stands served ready-to-eat fare like the berry pies at My Mom's Pie, buffalo-stuffed pasties from Shamane's Bakeshoppe, and tamales with salsas from La Esmeralda. Guests also visited the temporary food hall in the center of the market, with favorites including pizzas from Laudisio, Vietnamese crepes from Savory Saigon and a stunning pan of paella from Cafe Aion.
As customers, farmers and food professionals weaved in and out of the booths and people, the sun shone on contented faces. While Front Range residents know next weekend's market could easily be snowed out, it was hard to find a downtrodden look among the crowd as they stuffed their faces and bags with wholesome food.
Visit the Boulder Country Farmers' Market from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday now until November 23 on 13th Street between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue. The Longmont market, at 9595 Nelson Road, is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays until November 23 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. BCFM's other markets, at Union Station and in Lafayette, will open in May. See the organization's website for more details.
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