Dillon Farmers Market overflows with locally grown goods
Ramee Hyde sauntered through the Dillon Farmers Market Friday with a bag full of organic rosemary, kalamata olive bread, artisan cheeses and a smattering of fresh produce.
She was one of hundreds of visitors to the Friday market, which is now in full bloom in downtown Dillon. The Summit Cove resident said she appreciated getting fresh food and locally made items, and talking to the vendors.
“We have a couple places that we love to go to here.“ Hyde said.
“At the Jumping Goat Dairy stand, we got to buy cheese from the lady who makes it,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to be able to talk to the people who grow your food.”
The weekly farmers market features about 120 vendors selling items ranging from art, clothing, soaps and candles to fresh produce, fish, jerky and food concessions.
Produce vendors at the market said they enjoyed helping connect shoppers to the food they eat.
Cindy Goodall sells fresh fruits and veggies from Miller Farms in Platteville.
“It reminds people where their food really comes from,” Goodall said. “It’s not from a grocery store, it’s actually out of dirt.”
Colorado produce vendors said their products are fresher and taste better than the large market chains.
“The food that’s been shipped has chemicals on it to preserve it to make it last that trip,” Goodall said. “Farm-fresh produce doesn’t have that stuff on it.”
Jonathon Hieb brought a wide assortment of fruits and vegetables from his farm in Palisade.
“From a small farmer’s point of view, this is our main avenue to get our product to the public,” he said.
“When I was a kid my grandfather would set up on the side of the road. Now it’s a little more formal and a little more professional,” Hieb said. “It’s also very interactive. It’s nice to talk to people about the benefits of organic and sustainable growing.”
The farmer said his Colorado produce not only has health benefits, but tastes better than food that has been shipped halfway around the country.
“Some people have never tasted a real tomato. They’ve only had mega-mart tomatoes that are picked way too early, so they never develop the flavors that they should,” Heib said. “Our motto is ‘pick to eat.’ People really get into it, and they get hooked.”
Alan Bates, of Styria Bakery, brought bread baked the night before to Dillon’s open-air market. He pointed out that shopping locally is best for the economy. While Dan Cassona, from Mountain Man Nut and Fruit Company, said he enjoys giving locals and tourists a taste of Colorado-made goodies.
“It gives everybody a variety of products from close by, and it’s great to meet all the people who come here from all over the country,” he said.
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