Farmers' Market wrap-up: best season in years

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It's hard to believe, but the last 15 weeks have flown by and Thursday marks the last night of this year's downtown Grand Junction Farmers' Market. Farmers and vendors say it's been a successful season, maybe the best in years.

A winter battle worried some, but the crops survived and now those fears are long gone.

"There was an early freeze in March," Bikki’s Ranch of Liberty owner Barbara Bikki said.

Though the freeze took some of her cherries and apricots, her Palisade peaches survived and were a favorite this summer, and that shows in sales. Other local farmers like Bikki are counting this as one of the most successful farmers' market seasons in years.

"Of course, everybody is hungry for fresh things, and we have them," she said.

For many, this year's early crop season meant a bigger selection of fruits and vegetables for a longer period of time. Some learned if they waited to buy this year, chances are they missed out on some of the popular fruits and vegetables.

"You know, last year I remember produce was a little late and so people were left at the end of the market with lots of peaches left to sell,” Grand Junction Downtown Partnership marketing specialist Kathy Dirks said. "Some of our farmers have actually run out of food."

Red Barn Farm and Garden manager Tarrin Miller says the "buy local" push also encouraged more to head down to Main Street.

"More people are interested and they're able to go out in this economy [now that it’s] improving. Everybody can go out and enjoy the local fruits and vegetables,” Miller said.

Business was good thanks to the peaches, apples, tomatoes and corn, but farmers say business was better because of the company.

"Meeting new customers, seeing our regulars, everybody out there is smiling, having a good time [is the best part],” Miller said.

"People get to know you personally and they know exactly where the fruits and vegetables come from,” Bikki added.

The city also said people went to the farmer’s market later in the evenings because of the hotter summer days. The only exception would be for special events.

The vendors and city wanted to thank the community for supporting them year after year. They say the customers are what make the event so special and unique to Grand Junction.

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