Farmers Market holds first summer gathering | CraigDailyPress.com

Farmers Market holds first summer gathering

Market coincides with Downtown Business Association's Friday Fest this summer

Michael Neary





Michelle Winey, right, considers some goat milk soap at Chrissy Winters' stand during Friday's Farmers Market in downtown Craig. Winters is organizing the Craig Farmers Market this summer.
Michael Neary

— It's still too early for piles of produce, but the Craig Farmers Market began at Alice Pleasant Park Friday afternoon with wares ranging from honey to goat milk soap.

"I like farmers markets because you get to meet the actual makers," said Genevieve Yazzie. "You get to meet the artisans or the growers that actually produce the products. I know where everything's coming from, and that's really big for me."

Yazzie was selling handmade functional pottery on Friday.

Jacque Malley, right, ponders the pottery displayed at Genevieve Yazzie's stand during Friday's Farmers Market in downtown Craig.Michael Neary

Chrissy Winters, who's organizing the Farmers Market this year, noted the market's new time, from 12 to 6 p.m. on Fridays, rather than on Thursdays.

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"It's just kind of an easier day for people," Winters said. "It's more laid-back, and more tourists may be coming through town."

The new time coincides with the Downtown Business Association's Friday Fest this summer.

In a couple of weeks or so, De Vries Farm Market, in Grand Junction, will begin to offer its farmers market in Craig Wednesdays.

"The fruit crop is heavy this year," said owner Bill De Vries, talking on the phone. He said he expected a strong selection of produce at the Wednesday markets.

On Friday, as Winters talked about the market, she was also minding her own stand — stocked with homemade goat milk soap and other products.

"We raise our own goats, and hand-milk them," she said.

As vendors discussed their products, they inevitably talked about the larger environment of the market, a place where people might meet outside after a long winter has passed, as well as a place where people might find a buyer, or a trader, for their creations.

"I try to trade with people because it's kind of fun that way," said Joanne Roberson, who was selling 30 different kinds of jams and jellies, along with salsa. Even a single jar of jam, as Roberson described it, represented a kind of community project.

"I try and do all local," Roberson said, ticking off a list of fruits that included strawberries, raspberries, rhubarbs and grapes.

"Friends will say, 'Hey listen, I'll give you all these raspberries. Will you make some in trade?'" she said.

A few feet away, Bob Grubb — who's organized the Farmers Market in past years — was sitting next to his granddaughter selling rhubarb. His granddaughter, Isabelle Herod, was selling bread.

"The vendors run this," Grubb said, gesturing to the varied selection of wares all around him.

Candace Mansfield, selling a range of crafts, also emphasized the closeness of the vendors.

"You build a family," she said.

In some cases, the vendors selling on Friday were already family. Jenny Smith runs a home business called Hodge Podge, and she was selling next to her mother, Kathy Scheibl, whose business is called Katy J. Salsa.

"It's my hobby, I guess," Smith said. "I have coasters and wall-hanging tiles. Right now I have some candle holders and I have the bath and body line."

Scheibl said she came to the market last year, and she noted that she's established a strong customer base through word of mouth. But it's Smith's first year at the market.

"They moved it to Fridays, so now I can participate," she said.

Another first-time participant was Kimberly Swenson, a massage therapist.

"For me, it's being outside," she said. "I'm out of the office for a day, and meeting new people … If I could work in the park every day, that would be great."

For Jacque Malley, it was the honey that lured her to the market, at least initially.

"Particularly, I came to get honey," she said, casting a glance toward Yampa Gold Raw Honey's stand. "And it really is a nice place to just see what's out there."

Winters said about 20 regular vendors are working together to participate this summer, and she said there's room for more. People who are interested can call 970-274-1792.

Contact Michael Neary at 970-875-1794 or mneary@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Education.