Farmers market starts to see growth

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — Interest in Brighton’s new farmers market is sprouting. Three months after opening, Planting Seeds Farmers Market is seeing several returning vendors, a number of returning customers and customers who are stopping by for the first time.
    Dick and Barb Green of Lochbuie decided to stop by after seeing a sign for a farmers market because they enjoy fresh veggies.

    Brighton resident Cher Larsson has been coming to the market for the last three or four weeks with her children. She said it’s something that was missing in Brighton and that it’s the fresh eggs and vegetables that keep her coming back.
    “It’s great that these people come out here,” she said of the vendors but admitted she would like to see more participation in the market.
    Yvette Martinez, one of the market’s coordinators, said they have about 30 vendors registered. Vendors at the market sell a range of goods from handcrafted items and artwork to baked goods and produce. Although there are still five markets left this summer, Martinez said overall, this first season has been a success.
    “I think if you go from vendor to vendor everybody has earned something. Considering the fee was only $10 for the season, everybody is ahead right now,” she said. “I know some have done better than others, it just depends on what they’re there to vend.”
    Jeannie Troy, of Thornton, has come to the market to sell her cheese straws, described as cheese and a cracker all in one. Troy, who was born in New Orleans and lived in Alabama for some time, says you can’t get married or buried in the South without having cheese straws at the event. Since her debut at the market, Troy has been getting residents interested in cheese straws.
    “I’ve had several people come back looking specifically for me and they told me they were addicted, and I apologized and then said, ‘Thank you,’” she said. “It’s exciting when people come back to get more of something that I’ve made. Food is my passion so it’s made with a lot of love and I’m glad people are able to taste that too.”
    Kerry Villano of Villano Farms in Fort Lupton came to the farmers market at her son Dante’s request. She said Dante is a fifth-generation farmer who wanted to participate in the market starting up at his school.
“I wish more people would get involved. This is my neighborhood, I know I have a lot of nosey neighbors, I’m surprised they’re not over here. I would like to see more involvement from the community because to support local is really important,” she said.
    Villano said they have never done a farmers market before but said as long as her son has interest in selling produce at the market they will be there to support him.
    The start up of the farmers market has not been without its challenges. Martinez said the biggest challenge has been getting the word out there with their limited funds for marketing. The location has also proven to be a challenge and they had also hoped for more participation from Brighton’s growers.
    “We still would love, love, love to have our local farms join us if it’s possible for them next year but we’re open to including farmers out of the Brighton area, too, if we need to,” Martinez said.
    With the market set to wrap up on Oct. 5, Martinez and organizer Laura Cruz have already started planning for next year. Martinez said they are working to secure a more central location for the market next year.
    Additionally, Martinez said they have been talking to folks in the area she said are looking forward to joining them next year and that they’ve been looking for sponsors for the upcoming year.
    “The ideas continue to grow and we just continue to be super excited about what this will eventually become for the city,” Martinez said.
    Planting Seeds Farmers Market is held from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday at Foundations Academy, 340 S. 45th Ave. The market will be closed this Saturday due to it being Labor Day Weekend.