Okay, so even though the name -- Highland Micro-Market -- clearly refers to a market on a miniature scale, I laughed out loud when I pulled up to the itsy-bitsy-teenie-weenie patio at Generous Servings Cooking Classes and Cafe, the site of the new Highland Micro-Market, or MiMa, which debuted yesterday at 3801 West 32nd Avenue.
To put it into perspective, the whole of MiMa is roughly the size of one, maybe two vendors, at the Cherry Creek Farmers' Market, which is precisely the point.
According to the Highland Micro-Market web site, a MiMa is a "community market dedicated to connecting local residents with very local food and goods. The goal of MiMa is to provide a place for resident customers and producers of a community-based, sustainable, healthy and tasty lifestyle." In other words, the Cherry Creek Farmers' Market, where most of the produce is trucked in from California -- which is hardly local -- sucks ramps.
MiMa is small and mighty, with all of six vendors (all of them local), including Elizabeth Sundari, the former events and marketing manager of Highlands Garden Cafe, at 3927 West 32nd Avenue, who's now the owner of Heirloom Gardens, which she describes as "all organic, ultra-local veggies and herbs." Her herbs and vegetables -- lemon mint, wild rocket, heirloom lettuces, arugula, spicy micro greens and pepper cress -- grown less than a mile away from the market were big sellers. "Our food is grown in this neighborhood and it should be sold in this neighborhood," says Sundari, who also raises goats and chickens.
"This is something that can -- and should -- be done in every neighborhood; me with my veggies from just a few blocks away, someone else with their seeds from a few blocks away and even honey from the same neighborhood. This is how it should be," Sundari insists.
Mitchell Alexander, aka The Green Fooder, was there, too, peddling cartons of farm-fresh chicken eggs he gets from a woman in Lakewood. And while Alexander, like me, was initially skeptical about the markets' minute size, there wasn't a lull all day. "This is an amazing grassroots effort in a neighborhood that really embraces community involvement, and considering it's the first day, I think we all did great," he says.
MiMa is held from 2 to 6 p.m. every Thursday. For more info, visit www.highlandmima.com.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.