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A Trip to the Boulder County Farmers’ Market

On Wednesday, August 28, I decided to get out of the house and stroll over to the Boulder Farmers’ Market for a real “only in Boulder” experience, and I’m happy to say that I got what I came for. I arrived at the market at around 5:30 p.m and found the place crawling with people. All walks of life were present here, ranging from old dreadlocked hippies to young dreadlocked hippies. There were also plenty of families with young children, students, and a handful of colorful characters, including a man in a superhero costume and a man in a tie-dye jumpsuit making balloon animals.

The first tent I passed upon entering was set up by the local smoothie business, Boulder Bike Blenders. They’d set up a long table and placed several blenders on top. Each blender was connected to the front wheel of a stationary cruiser bike so that anyone could hop on and pedal to blend their own smoothie. In a town like Boulder where just about everyone is a bicycle enthusiast, I felt assured that there would be no shortage of smoothies that night.

I continued through the market and walked by tents set up by the folks from Raw Secret Garden and Cure Organic Farm. Squash, zucchini, and baskets of cherry tomatoes created a colorful display beside “gluten free” foods and a sample platter of kale chips (I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many signs proclaiming, “Kale Sale” in my life as I did that night). Next to this vegetarian haven was, of all things, a stand for Berkshire Pork. Patrons could choose anything from frozen bratwurst to loin roast to take home and grill. The sign next to this carnivorous stand assured customers, however, that all of the pigs had been fed an exclusively organic diet; even the pigs in this town are health-nuts!

As I wandered along, I found myself magnetically drawn in to the enticing aromas streaming out of the Styria Bakery tent. A long line of eager customers waited impatiently outside this tent, and for good reason! Among their display of freshly baked breads and treats were “cinnamon pretzels,” delicious looking cinnamon cakes about the size of a catcher’s mitt. I felt like I had to loosen my belt up a notch just looking at them.

Next, I passed a stand for Zuke’s Pickled Things, from the Esoteric Food Company. They offered pickled tomatoes, pickled beets, pickled peppers, and, of course, pickled kale (In case you needed a break from all your regular kale). I couldn’t help but wonder if they sold pickled pickles. The sight of pickled beets had to compete, however, with the wonderful flower exhibit from McConnell’s Dream House. Hanging flowers, geraniums, and giant orange sunflowers were in a beautiful display in retina-searing oranges, yellows, and reds, to be purchased separately or in bouquets.

On the plaza adjacent to 13th street, there were larger booths where meals could be purchased. This area of the market had benches and tables, all filled with friends and families enjoying a fun twilight dinner and sipping on cool beverages from the beer and wine gardens. The All Natural Hamburger booth was there and beside it was a booth for Himalayas, a Boulder restaurant that serves Indian and Nepali cuisine. As if my nose hadn’t endured enough, I then came across a large tent for The Rollin’ Smoke Craft BBQ and Eatery. The smoky, mouthwatering smells emitting from this setup were good enough to turn even the most dedicated vegan over to the dark side. Preferably dark BEEF with a side of beans.

As everyone was chowing down and enjoying their dinners, a group of young jazz musicians began to set up. Once ready, the young trio broke out into quick, toe-tapping jazz performed on standup bass, amplified guitar, and saxophone. Several couples spontaneously started jumping and jiving on the plaza, doing swing dance moves as if they’d stepped right out of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. At this point I decided to do some interviewing and asked Natalie H, a student, what she thought of the market. “I love the farmers’ market,” she said, “t’s a great atmosphere.” Spot on, Natalie.

Alas, all good things must come to end (plus there was only so much time I could spend procrastinating from my homework) so I decided to head home. On my way out I made my single purchase of the evening: a bottle of hot sauce from the Horsetooth Hot Sauce company, the hottest sauce they carried, the vendor assured me. Despite the loss of most of my taste buds, I can now safely say that I’m addicted to the stuff and put it on virtually everything I eat. At the time of writing this article, however, I’ve just about run out of the sauce, so I guess I’ll just have to go back to the farmers’ market next week!

Handy Info: The Boulder Farmers’ Market runs every Saturday from April through late November, beginning at 8 a.m and closing at 2 p.m. It also runs every Wednesday from May through the beginning of October, from 4 p.m to 8 p.m. The market is located on 13th Street, next to Central Park in downtown Boulder, and spans from Arapahoe to Canyon. You should go!

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