After twenty-plus summers, the City Park Farmers' Market at East High School is launching its 2021 season this Saturday with new owners running the show.
"We are super pumped, we are super nervous and super excited," says Peter Wanberg, who now owns the City Park Farmers' Market with his wife, Margo. The market, which previously took place on Sundays, will now operate every Saturday from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. "We hope it gets to be a super-solid event and becomes a staple in the community."
If the Wanbergs hadn't stepped in, the market might not have come back this year. It was set to close down, but the couple, who own Jubilee Roasting Co. and had a coffee stand at the City Park Farmers' Market for years, wanted to see the event continue and had ideas on how to make it thrive.
"When we heard it wasn't going on anymore, we reached out to the city about how to restart the market, and they were encouraging," recalls Wanberg, who signed the paperwork in November and has been planning ever since. "We saw the market lose steam for whatever reason, and for us, part of the goal was to bring new energy in, extend the vendor network and paint a new vision to get people re-excited."
Their plan calls for around sixty vendors each Saturday, the majority of which are food-focused. They include farmers, ranchers, small gardens, handcrafted foods and a slew of food trucks and food stalls, with the lineup including Pandemic Donuts, Babas Falafel, Rebel Bread, Bonfire Burritos and Wong Way Veg, to name a few — all of which will serve goods that can be eaten in the socially distanced cafe area in the center of the market. On the produce and protein side will be Ela Family Farms, Palisade Peach Shack, Minoru Farm, Five Freedoms Dairy and Owl Canyon Farm, which is doing a farmers' market for the first time and will be selling Berkshire pork, eggs and produce from its thirty-acre plot. "We really are trying to make it food-focused," says Wanberg. Among the five or so non-food vendors will be a zero-waste station and Colorado Compost, which both fit into the market's model of being as zero-waste as possible.
It's close to impossible to get a permit to do anything in the City Park neighborhood; like City Park Jazz, which just announced its season, the farmers' market was grandfathered in. The Wanbergs say they were able to utilize the full space in ways that past organizers did not; still, there should be plenty of room between stands so people don't have to feel crowded in.
The original horseshoe shape of the market will be back, but instead of the produce and meat stalls, this area will host prepared-food vendors. The farmers, ranchers and other food providers will be spread out just north of the horseshoe along City Park Esplanade. There will be a 9 a.m. donation-based yoga class put on each week by Big Power Yoga to the east of the vendor tents, along with live music weekly. As for parking, Wanberg says there are plenty of options including a large East High School lot with an entry on East 16th Avenue.
The City Park Farmers' Market will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays starting May 15 through October at the East High School Esplanade, 1600 City Park Esplanade.
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