Courtney Erwin (left) and Molly Schaus, with Isabelle Farm, help customers at the Boulder Farmers Market on Sept. 16. (CU Independent/Lee Pruitt)
Buying local is a huge fad in Boulder, and some shoppers say i’st easy to do at the Boulder Farmer’s Market.
Local growers are accessible anywhere from Sunflower’s natural grocery to the Farmers’ Market. Benefits include lower prices, reduced harm to the environment, a fun shopping experience and access to delicious, wholesome and organic food some shoppers say.
The Boulder County Farmers’ Market is held on 13th Street between Canyon and Arapahoe every Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Saturday morning at the market is characterized with tents and booths displaying a plethora of fresh and colorful produce, bouquets, baked goods, honeys, soaps and wines all from local growers and businesses.
Smiling customers mingle in the early morning light, chatting with friends, sipping local coffee, and purchasing exotic fruits and vegetables like heirloom tomatoes, purple and white carrots, roasted peppers and plus-sized squash.
An array of fresh vegetables is available at the Boulder Farmers Market. (CU Indpendent/Anna McIntosh)
The other arm of the market features local restaurant booths offering international cuisine ranging from Mexican tamales, African shrimp-cakes, Asian dumplings, Greek falafels and El Salvadorian pupsas, to name a few. American favorites can also be found as made-to order pancakes, burgers and eggs Benedict are cooked in front of customers.
Howard Caplan owns Brillig Works Bakery, which sells treats like white chocolate and raspberry scones and blueberry-tahini bars wholesale to local cafes.
Caplan said he thinks the importance of buying local stems from supporting the local economy and helping the Boulder locals thrive.
‘‘The farmer’s market is a great place to go for local products of higher quality, the producers are able to know their customers personally, and better meet their needs,” said Kara Fischer, a freshman marketing major. “I know that the money you spend there is directly benefiting our community.”
Local arts and crafts fairs are often held at the market, which hosts art booths featuring art by individual local artists, as well as craft groups and classes.
One such stand displayed work by a local Latino craft group “Si/See.”
“Si/See” was started by Marcela O’Talora to encourage community and improve standards of living for Latino women in the Boulder area.
Using 100 percent recycled wool sweaters, the crafters are taught how to use rug hooking to make unique rugs, bags and even stuffed animals. Proceeds from the sales go directly to the weavers.
Boulder also fosters organizations like “Cultiva,” a youth-oriented group that is part of Growing Gardens of Boulder County. The group teaches members how to garden and provide them with the opportunity to harvest their own organic crops.
Growing Gardens donates 50 percent, or about 300-500 pounds of produce to Community Food Share and the Boulder Homeless shelter each year. Their Web site can be found here.
Another local grower, Munson’s Family Farm, is located east of downtown Boulder on Valmont Road. Owned and operated by Tom Munson, the farm has been around since 1951 and farming has been in the family for 10 generations.
Restaurants like The Med, The Cork, Tenten Brasserie, Zolo’s, Asti’ditalia and the Niwot Market buy produce from Munson’s.
But that doesn’t mean they have it easy, Munson says.
“There’s so much competition nowadays,” Munson said. “There’s a corn stand on every corner.”
He said the farm does half the business now than they did two years ago.
Along with corn, Munson’s produces a variety of squash, peaches, heirloom tomatoes, Jonathon apples, watermelon, pumpkins, potatoes, beans, eggplant and more. When the crops are all in, Munson offers hayrides and a corn-maze.
Though much of what they grow is organic, Munson says he does use some fertilizer on his crops. He said manure often leads to E. coli and salmonella, which are things he wants to avoid.
“I do what I think I’ve gotta do to raise the best crops, and people seem to like my product,” Munson said.
Students say they think buying locally-grown food can lead to positive results economically and culturally for the community.
“I always support small businesses,” said Tyler Matlock, a junior MCD biology major. “I feel companies like Wal-Mart and huge places like Sam’s Club don’t necessarily hurt the economy but hurt culture. At least that’s the way I was brought up, with mom ‘n’ pop shops.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ana McIntosh at Anna.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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