Hayden Farmers Market returns for 2nd year, looking to expand

Sophie Dingle
Steamboat Pilot & Today
At last summer's Hayden Farmers Market, residents peruse offerings from vendors like Mountain Bluebird Farm and Hayden Fresh Farm. (Photo by Sophie Dingle)

The Hayden Farmers Market is up and running for the second year in a row, and this year, they’re looking to be even bigger and better than before.

While the idea for a farmers market in Hayden has been batted around for many years, nothing stuck until last summer when Michelle and Colby Townsend, who own Hayden Fresh Farm, got it going.

“It definitely stemmed from COVID,” Townsend said. “We had a brief window of thinking that we were actually going to go out of business, but we still had 2,000 chickens laying eggs, and we had to feed them every day.”

The Townsends asked a friend if they could set up a booth in front of her business in downtown Hayden, and when she agreed, they started selling their eggs and meat. When they met Noah Price and Sydney Ellbogen of Mountain Bluebird Farm, they joined on as well, and little by little, the market began to grow.

This year, it’s back for the summer in a new location on South Walnut Street, from 5 to 8 p.m. each Thursday.

Joining Hayden Fresh Farm and Mountain Bluebird Farm this year is Outlaw Apiaries, which sells 100% pure, raw, unfiltered and unrefined local honey with eight varieties of organic infusions, like lemon zest creamed honey and bourbon Madagascar vanilla bean creamed honey. Alongside the honey, 4-year-old Nico sells eggs from the family’s free-range chickens.

“Hayden is a special community, and we are proud to be a part of this endeavor,” said Outlaw Apiaries owner Bethany Karulak-Baker. “The town and all the local businesses have been working diligently to bolster the local economy and revive our downtown area. Everyone is tirelessly dedicated to showing what our hardworking local ranchers and producers can bring to the Yampa Valley.”

The market’s emphasis is on local vendors, not those who travel from the Front Range, and right now, food products are the main attraction.

In addition to honey from Outlaw Apiaries and eggs and meat from Hayden Fresh Farm, Mountain Bluebird Farms brings fresh produce each week. Right now, plant starts for gardeners are available as well as leafy greens, carrots, beets, radishes and turnips. As the summer progresses, they will sell tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, broccoli and squash.

And while the market remains small for now, each vendor says they’re working hard to grow the offerings and get more local businesses involved — even those not related to food.

“We are hoping to see it grow,” Townsend said. “If people are interested in becoming a vendor, we’re looking for more. We want to eventually get food trucks there and make it more of an event. We want to let people see what a great small town Hayden is.”

Now in its second week of the summer, Townsend said she was pleasantly surprised by how many people stopped by the first market.

“I think people were happy that we were back for a second year,” she said. “It’s not just a COVID solution. … Those darn chickens just keep laying eggs.”

Anyone who is interested in becoming a vendor at the Hayden Farmers Market should contact Michelle Townsend at or 970-846-5383.

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