Produce Markets to love beyond downtown SLC
Need cucumbers or artisan bread for dinner on a weekday? Are the heirloom tomatoes you planted not doing well? Lucky for you, the demand for fresh, local products has spilled out of the Downtown Farmers Market and markets have sprouted up in communities all along the Wasatch Front. Some keep it simple, while others offer food and a bit more. And not all take place on a Saturday when spare time can be at a premium. Here are several unique markets worth visiting.
Park City Farmers Market
Wednesdays, through Oct. 25 / Noon-5 p.m.
Growth and construction in Utah’s premier resort town have again displaced the Park City Farmers Market (And to clarify: This isn’t the Park Silly Sunday Market on Main Street). But moving the Wednesday farmers market from its 18-year home at the Canyons to the base of Park City Mountain is a homecoming of sorts, according to market director and owner Volker Ritzinger.
“The Silver King parking lot at the Park City resort is where the market started over 20 years ago,” says Ritzinger, an Austrian immigrant who was a market vendor selling the European-style artisan bread he made at Volker’s Bakery in Kamas. The market operated at the parking lot for four years before they were displaced by construction for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
The resort operators “started moving trailers and things into the parking lot and told us the market was going to be canceled for the rest of the year,” Ritzinger says. “I just thought, you just can’t move all the farmers out now. They’ve worked all year to grow this product.”
So, he contacted friends at nearby Canyons Resort who agreed to host the market. “I had the money to go pull the permits we needed, and a week after we closed at Park City, we opened at the Canyons,” he says. “We didn’t even miss a week! After that, I just kind of became the spokesman and manager of the market.”
Like most farmers markets, the Park City market includes locally produced crafts and food products. Unlike most markets, it is held on Wednesday evenings. “We have farmers from around the state who come but they go to the markets on the weekends, so having ours on Wednesday gives them another place to sell,” Ritzinger says.
The market features up to 80 vendors at any time but Ritzinger says he offers free space to children under 16 and retired military veterans to sell what they like. He notes that lately the market has been drawing more small-acreage farmers specializing in organic and unique produce.
Ritzinger says he also tries to encourage new ventures. “We’ve had people at the market and they’ve seen how I’ve grown my bakery by getting out to sell directly to customers. I try to help them, let them know the process and how to get into other markets,” he says. “Sometimes I’ve let people set up the first year for free, so they can get going because I remember how hard it was when I was getting my bakery going.”
Park City Farmers Market
Silver King Resort parking lot
1485 Empire Ave., Park City
Utah State University Botanical Center Farmers Market
Thursdays, July 12-Sept. 20 / 5-8 p.m. or dusk
This market is located at USU’s Botanical Center and experimental gardens just off Interstate 15. Not only does it showcase items from surrounding farms, there are also master gardeners on hand to help answer questions if your green thumb is turning a bit brown. Operating since 2006, the market also features local crafts, live music and produce tastings throughout the growing and harvest season. USU Extension and agriculture professor Shawn Olsen says visitors are encouraged to explore the grounds outside the farmers market area and even try their luck in the stocked fishing ponds. Tastings during the year come from the dozens of varieties of peaches, apples and grapes grown in the demonstration gardens. “We have a yoga class each week as well as Aggie ice cream tasting, cheese tasting, and I do sweet-corn grilling,” Olsen says. “It makes for a nice family evening and, of course, we have experts there to answer questions about growing your own vegetables, ornamental plants and how to preserve food.”
Utah State University Botanical Center
875 S. 50 West, Kaysville
Cache Valley GardEners’ Market
Saturdays through Oct. 20 / 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Whether en route to Bear Lake or visiting Logan to take in a live show at one of its three theaters, check out the offerings at one of the longest-running farmers markets in the state. According to director Mary Laine, the Cache Valley market began in 1984 with a few dedicated food lovers and growers gathered in the parking lot across from Café Ibis Coffee Roasting Co. It has now grown into one of the largest in Utah, occupying a parking lot at the grounds of the historic Cache County Courthouse on Logan’s Main Street. “We have about 125 vendors and a core of about 50 that are there throughout the season,” she says. “We try and be a truly local farmers market, and have growers who are from within a 50-mile radius.” Well-known Cache Valley items like cheeses and honey are regulars at the market as are crafts and local musicians.
Historic Cache County Courthouse
199 N. Main, Logan
Sugar House Farmers Market
Wednesdays, July-September / 5-8 p.m.
Since 2010, the Sugar House Farmers Market has hosted this mid-week, community-focused event. While the market has occupied various locations in Sugar House, in the past few years, it has taken up residence on the tree-shaded grounds of Fairmont Park. Smaller in scope than most markets, it features farm-fresh produce, live music and unique local products. The market usually runs July through September; watch their social media and website for specific opening and closing dates.
1040 E. Sugarmont Drive, SLC
Wheeler Farm Sunday Market
Sundays, through Oct. 28
One of the few markets held on Sunday, this long-running farmers market is also one of few on an actual farm—sort of. In addition to fresh produce, crafts and local products, there are live farm animals close by to complete the agricultural experience. The market also features food trucks or prepared-food vendors along with a covered dining area.
Wheeler Historic Farm
6351 S. 900 East, Murray