Nothing says summer like open-air markets, which in Summit County open again for the warm months starting today in Dillon and June 16 in Breckenridge. Fans of fresh produce can also find goods from Colorado farms at Uncle John’s roadside stands in Frisco and Silverthorne starting in mid- to late June — depending on when the cherries are ready, that is.
Dillon Farmers Market
The Dillon Farmers Market opens today with approximately 120 vendors carrying fresh Colorado produce, meat and fish, local products such as goat cheese, honey and soaps, handcrafted goods and food concessions. Among the popular stops are Miller Farms, which not only offers produce a la carte but also a Community Supported Agriculture program. Participants purchase a CSA share of the farm, and the money goes toward seeds and other expenses for the year’s crop, said Russell Ivie, who runs the Dillon stand. In exchange, they get to fill up two bushel baskets with the produce of their choice each week from any of the Miller Farms stand locations, including Dillon, Breckenridge, Vail and Idaho Springs. Half CSA shares are also available.
New to the Dillon Farmers Market this year are concessionaires with falafels and organic cookies, work by blacksmith (and former Summit Daily staff photographer) Mark Fox and cooking demonstrations by Colorado Mountain College. Borden Farms, a certified organic farm based in Delta, also joins for the first time this year. Summit Historical Society returns with a booth where you can purchase local history books and sign up for membership, and the Family Intercultural Resource Center hosts a kids’ corner, usually flanked by face painting. There also will be Tumble Bubbles — plastic bubbles that kids can climb inside and roll around — in the park.
The layout of the Dillon Farmers Market changes this year as the market moves down Buffalo Street, where it will take up approximately half a block before swinging through the parking lot at the La River Mall end of La Bonte Street and continuing up La Bonte to Main Street, according to Matt Miano, events manager for the town of Dillon.
As usual, there’s live music from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We’ve got a terrific entertainment schedule lined up, with some exciting first-time performers, as well as some local favorites like Doo Wop Denny, Randall McKinnon, Nancy Cook, Arnie J. Green and John Truscelli,” Miano said.
Breckenridge Sunday Market
Breckenridge Sunday Market opens June 16 for its 11th year. Each week, 40 vendors gather at Main Street Station to offer a variety of goods including farm-fresh produce, baked goods, seafood, pastas and sauces, candles, soaps and lotions, jewelry and even sports equipment and demos, along with live music from local bands.
“I try to pick completely different things,” said event organizer Karin Bearnarth, who explained that the market aims to appeal to locals and visitors alike. “A lot of locals I see every week; they can’t wait until Sunday to get their produce.”
There’s also “a lot of Colorado stuff, some made in Breck,” good for both souvenirs and gifts, Bearnarth said. Examples include Climax Jerky, which carries beef, buffalo, elk, venison, turkey and salmon jerky at its Breckenridge and Dillon market stands, and Breckenridge Candle Cabin, which will also have booths at both locations.
“One blend we make is of pine, cedar and eucalyptus,” said Bernadette Foley, of Breckenridge Candle Cabin. “It smells just like walking in the woods here in Colorado.”
Fair-trade items such as handbags and hats can be found at A-Mark on the World, and new this year are Living Greens’ jellies and jams, a miniature wine garden from Avanti Winery and a children’s area with books, face painting, hula hoops and hair braiding.
Visitors to Breckenridge Sunday Market can also give standup paddleboarding a try on Maggie Pond, thanks to Alpine Sports.
“Paddleboarding is one of the world’s fastest growing sports that dates back centuries but has gained profound interest inland recently due to new inflatable (more durable) paddleboard models,” said Jeff Hurley, who manages the Park Avenue store in Breckenridge. “We provide 15 minute or longer demos of several different models and brands of paddleboards during the market,” with an introduction, discussion of techniques and safety principles and instruction by certified guides.
Outdoor sports enthusiasts can also test-drive skateboards by Simplicity Longboards, pick up a handmade fleece bandana from Hot Bandits or shop a selection of trout flies from Brothers Flies, which sells hand-tied trout flies and bead items, made in Kenya, which benefit Kenyan communities.
Uncle John’s Farm Stands
Those desiring unfettered access to fresh produce can visit Uncle John’s Farm Stands, slated to open for a ninth season in June. The stands are open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and run into October. Dates vary from season to season.
To stock the Frisco and Silverthorne locations, Summit County local Chris Brewer, who co-owns the stands with his wife, Suzanne, heads to Palisade and other area farms to pick up fresh produce and Colorado products a few times per week. What’s available depends on what’s in season and how the season is going — but it usually starts off with cherries, greens and local beef, he said. Eggs are on a first-come, first-served basis. Other goods to look for soon include “a nice round of honey” from the farm stand’s new beekeeper, organic quinoa, dried beans (including an heirloom variety with a 20-year story), hot-house tomatoes (followed later by field-grown tomatoes), organic grape juice from last year’s grapes, jams and jellies and “really good breads,” he said.
“We get a lot of positive feedback,” Brewer said. “People like the fact that we’re open every day. They like the fact that I run down there two to three times a week so everything is pretty fresh. If they ask where it’s coming from, I can let them know. There’s a real direct connection there.”
The business is modeled on farm stands “back East,” Brewer said, adding that “there are always little surprises.” In addition to its roadside locations — at the corner of Main Street and Highway 9 in Frisco and a quarter mile south of Interstate 70 by the Silverthorne Town Center — Uncle John’s returns to the Breckenridge Sunday Market this year.