Monday, January 16, 2012

Winter Market

About twice a month during the winter, local food producers and artists gather in the Opera Galleria downtown. Barring acts of God (or being out of town), I go. It’s always bustling, and this last Saturday was no exception. As soon as I walk in, I feel a smile spread across my face. These people have become my friends.

winter market 1

And, oh the goodies available!

There are Hazel Dell mushrooms. There are cheeses and eggs from the Windsor Dairy. Fresh organic lettuces and greens – and by fresh I mean either cut that morning or with the roots still on – are such a treat in the middle of winter, thanks to Quatrix aquaponics. They even had tomatoes. And soon they’ll offer fresh tilapia raised only a couple of miles down the road without any icky chemicals.

On Saturday I bought another CSA poultry share from Jodar Farms at the market. That’s also where I got the side of pork currently in the freezer, and I’ll be doing that again once we work our way through what we have. There’s also a 20-pound turkey in there which I’m planning to cook up to celebrate Arbor Day.

What? You don’t have a special dinner for Arbor Day?

This year they might even have rabbit. I know, I know: bunnies?! K is already resisting.

By the way, if you live along the Front Range and are interested, here is the information about Jodar Farms’ poultry CSA.

pitchfork-pinups_image And there were plenty of Pitchfork Pinups calendars on hand. The photos are terrific, and I already have one in the kitchen plus gave some away as Christmas presents. Here’s an article about the calendar project.

All this is only a taste, though. I found some grass fed beef, potatoes, onions, carrots, leeks, navy and pinto beans, and a nice spaghetti squash. I could have indulged in cherry cider, specialty nut butters, flavored oils and vinegars, mustards, some stunningly beautiful salmon (the seller goes to Alaska in the summer for the fishing season, freezes the salmon right on the boat, and sells it throughout the winter to augment his income as a CU student – it’s fabulous), salsas and Italian sauces. There are plenty of baked goods, flavored pastas, and prepared foods like tamales. You can buy handmade soaps and lotions and other toiletries.

That’s not even counting the artists. The fiber arts alone are utterly breathtaking.

There are crowds jostling through the aisles, children running around, and live music. I cannot explain why I walk away from these markets, lugging my bags of goodies back to the parking garage, feeling so calm and happy.

I just do. And that’s probably why my next Home Crafting Mystery, Deadly Row to Hoe, features Sophie Mae and Meghan working on a Community Supported Agriculture farm.

Life does bleed onto the page. ; )

4 comments:

  1. These markets are such a great places of community, friends and for you, characters and story ideas.

    We visit the Portland Saturday Market whenever we get back to Oregon. Not as much produce, but wares of vendors of every type.

    I'll have to get my better half and make our way for the next Saturday gathering.

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  2. Hi Dean. I went to the Portland Saturday Market once -- it was grand. And then, of course, I had to go to Powell's... ; )

    The next market in Fort Collins is on 1/28, fyi...

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  3. Cricket, now I have come down with OSG Syndrome thanks to your post. That would be Overworked Salivary Glands. Just reading this had my mouth filled with virtual taste treats. How could I have lived in The Fort for 35 years and never been to this wonderland? Thanks as always.

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  4. OSG Syndrome -- fabulous! I'm totally stealing that, Jerry.

    I believe the winter markets just started up a few years ago, and last year was first time they did them bi-weekly.

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