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FREDERICK — Brooke Cunningham said events such as the annual Frederick Farmers Market not only help drive the economy but also build stronger bonds within the community.
Cunningham, town of Frederick events coordinator and Farmers Market director for the second straight year, said the event — which kicked off June 5 on Fifth Street along James M. Crist Park — has steadily grown since it started in June 2010.
This year, organizers took another step in further accommodating the community — the market’s customers — by moving the weekly event back an hour for those folks who need a little extra time. The event will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. every Thursday through September.
“We realized a lot of people who live in the Carbon Valley area are traveling throughout the day,” Cunningham said. “Whether they work in Denver or Longmont or Boulder or even in the area, they still have to come home, get settled, that kind of stuff.
“And we were getting some feedback saying ‘Just one more hour would help out a lot,’” she added. “So we moved it back an hour because we wanted to be more time-friendly to our residents. We’ll see how it goes.”
“Doubled in size”
Cunningham said the farmer’s market averaged about 500 visitors a week last year, and said the growing number of visitors has also helped the event grow its vendor list.
“This year, we have 32 vendors signed up … who will be coming off and on throughout the season,” Cunningham said. “The first year, I think there were about 17, so we’ve basically doubled in size.”
Nate Reed, a Frederick resident who showed up early to take advantage of Miller Farms’ $10 bags of fresh fruit and produce, joked that it’s been closer to a 3,000-percent or so increase by his estimates.
“When it started out, there was Miller Farms here and I think that was about it,” he said. “But it’s really blown up since then.”
Keith Davis, a vendor for the Plateville-based Miller Farms, said their organic and pesticide-free produce has always been a popular choice with the locals.
“We have all the traditional stuff,” Davis said.
Davis and Alex Miller, the 15-year-old son and namesake of Miller Farms, said they do about 50 farmer’s markets up and down the Front Range over the summer, but always enjoy their visit to Frederick.
“Frederick puts on a pretty good event,” Davis said. “It’s a smaller market, and we don’t make as much as we do at some other markets.”
“But it’s not the smallest,” Miller added.
A gathering place
The very phrase “farmer’s market” conjures images of wares much like Miller Farms’ — fruits, veggies, produce of all kinds and maybe a few homemade pies or some farm-fresh honey.
But the Frederick Farmers Market has come to offer so much more, Cunningham said, including jewelry and other crafts, cotton candy, dairy products, fresh-roasted chili peppers and so much more. They even have a booth for the Weld County Master Gardeners, who are more than happy to help those who like to grow for themselves.
“We have it all,” she said. “We have lots of variety, plus all the things people have come to expect from a farmer’s market.”
“It’s awesome — you can literally find anything you need, but the food is really why I come,” he said.
Well, that and the fact that the eight-year resident of Frederick likes to support local businesses.
“This helps keep the locals alive, you know?” he said. “I bought a house here about eight years ago because it was cheaper than in Boulder County. But I don’t do much with our community, I don’t work here — most people don’t. So keeping this stuff alive, that’s the way to go.”
Reed said the sweet deals don’t hurt, either.
“I’m currently unemployed and this is just so much more efficient,” he said. “Ten bucks at (the grocery store) is like three tomatoes that were picked three weeks ago.”
Cunningham said bringing fresh, local food and produce to the area and investing in local economy is certainly the primary focus of the Frederick market, but added that it’s also just plain good for the community as a whole.
“Farmer’s markets in general are just a great community gathering place,” she said. “We just like to see people come in, hang out for the evening and spend some time in downtown Frederick. People get to spend some time with their neighbors while also getting to know local business owners.”
Contact Reporter Jeremy Johnson at 303-659-2522, ext. 217, or reach him at email@example.com.