It's the second week for Grand Junction's downtown farmers market and the weather couldn't be better. With summer less than a week away Mother Nature is finally cooperating.
This years farmers market has already started of with a mad rush of people wanting to get in on the action. "We have a lot more farmers that are anxious to be a part of this year's market," says Kathy Dirks. All the booth spaces are sold for this year, and while it's still early in the season there are still 14 farmers expected to be set up this evening. "We had a huge crowd last week, this is just perfect weather for the second farmers market," says Dirks.
The weather hasn't always been perfect. Cold spring temperatures have put crops behind. "We bloomed 3 weeks late, which is a blessing actually," says Farmer Bob. A late bloom means plants have a better chance of surviving a late Spring freeze, which is exactly what happened to the Apricots. "Last year we had no crops, they froze," says Bob. This year farmers had to thin out the Apricots because there are so many, but they are still almost a month out from harvest.
"Farmers still have a lot of things people can get involved with," says Dirks. Like jams. Farmer Bob held a nationwide contest and the winning recipe was highlighted last week. "There were two of us doing the sampling and we couldn't keep up," says Bob. Now it's a week later and there's even more produce that's ready for market. Things like red beets, fresh rhubarb, and a few different kinds of peas and that's not all. "Sweet cherries, probable 2–3 different kinds of cherries this week," says Bob.
The cherries are a few weeks behind from this time last year, but they are now ready. Some produce had to be moved inside, but rest assured, it's still locally grown. "We have tomatoes that are greenhouse grown in palisade," says Bob. Most of the local farmers right now are buying their tomatoes from Blaine's tomatoes near Palisade because the field grown tomatoes are still a month away.
Now that the cool spring is finally behind us, we can all reap the benefits. "It's going to be a great season; the quality should be exceptionally good,"says Bob. Don't forget that food assistance clients can use their EBT cards to buy market bucks so they can purchase fresh produce.