Local community supports farmers' market that lost location

Published: Mar. 19, 2016 at 5:38 PM MDT
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A long time market that supports local farmers and ranchers in the area is being challenged by a new corporate grocery store.

When Save-a-Lot moved into the Teller Arms Shopping Center, there wasn't a concern until citizens learned their farmers market might be jeopardy.

"We all pull together to help each other, and that’s one of the things, I think, farmers’ markets exemplify,” said concerned citizen, Kristian Hartter.

A community controversy taking place on North Avenue, where a corporate grocery store threatens to take space from local farmers.

"I think that the market should be able to remain, and remain the way it was," said Jim Reid who shops at the new Save-a-Lot.

Fresh produce: peaches, plums, apples, nectarines, all staples of the Mesa County economy.

"So I just thought why does it have to be either or why can't why have both here. There’s enough space," Hartter said.

A huge parking lot in the Teller Arms Shopping Center was home to the Farm and Ranch Market selling local produce and products to the Grand Junction community, for over 35 years.

"The chatter was that save-a-lot was pushing them out," Hartter explained.

That long time local market is being challenged by a new corporate grocery store.

I walked into the local save-a-lot food store and the manager gave me a written statement that read in part:

"We are excited to be a member of the Grand Junction community and want to be a great community partner. In an effort to resolve this situation, our management team is working with the farmers market, and landlord to identify a mutually agreed upon space on our lot."

Local farmers, like Kerry Cook, thank the store for their cooperation but said, "There are some restrictions however, that preclude one of our farmers from attending the market at all and it restricts some of what the other can sell."

So they have looked into other options in the community.

"The Grand Junction community has opened up their hearts and to date we have over 15 sites that have been made available to the farmers market," said Cook from Apple Hill Farms and is the President of the Farm and Ranch Market.

A new home to take the home-grown produce market under their wing, ranging from churches, business to the City of Grand Junction Downtown Authority to the Western Museum.

"The good news is there is going to be a 2016 farmers market," said Cook.

Good news to all part of the Farm and Ranch market and to the local economy.

"For me it was about not taking opportunity away from this part of the community, the farmers,” explained Hatter.

The Farm and Ranch Market president also said that the group of farmers will have a meeting next week to choose from all the options evaluating pros and cons of each location, with the main goal being to find a long term location.

The market organizers say that in their new location they hope to keep the old schedule: Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.