Who doesn’t love locally-produced, fresh and healthy food? It’s for this reason I set out to explore the popular Fort Collins Winter Farmers Market, held in Old Town’s Opera Galleria. Here I was able to talk to local farmers about their winter produce, sample black garlic, and try out natural, homemade hand salves and lotions. Read on to discover why you should explore the fantastic Fort Collins Farmers Market!

pizza, beer
Rachael E. Worthington

What is a Farmers Market?

A farmers market is a fair full of different food vendors where local farmers sell their products directly to consumers. Usually, products include things such as fresh fruits and veggies, homemade soaps and lotions, meat and dairy products, fermented beverages and craft items. At the Fort Collins Winter Farmers Market, items such as kombucha, wine, microgreens, honey and jams were also popular (and delicious!) Farmers markets are good to explore if you like the idea of cutting out the middleman when it comes to your grocery shopping. Plus, you get to develop a relationship with your local farmers and develop a better understanding of what it takes to grow fresh produce. Not to mention, cutting down on “food miles” is an extremely sustainable lifestyle choice!

Lauren Hughes

My Experience:

I walked into the farmers market and was immediately surprised with the copious amounts of people as well as the numerous booths set up all around the building. There were craftsmen selling jewelry, connoisseurs selling wine, hobby beekeepers selling honey and honey products, and so much more. One gentleman offered me a sample of black garlic, which I had heard about but never tried before. The caramelized herb tasted sweeter and more mild than raw garlic, but still just as flavorful. I decided to purchase it, and I paired it with a lion’s mane mushroom. The farmer suggested I saute the garlic and mushroom together, and mix it with a pasta and a light cream sauce. He also suggested that the meal would pair well with a white wine and pointed me in the direction of the wine table. I enjoyed the experience of trying a new flavor, and getting to talk to someone so passionate who knew how to cook a fabulous meal! Afterwards, I cruised over to a few booths that were selling veggies. Though I was disappointed that the vegetable selection mostly only included greens like kale and spinach, the farmers at the table told me that those were the only vegetables really available during this time of the season. Another table was selling root vegetables such as potatoes and beets, which they told me were popular winter veggies. Both vendors promised they’d have a better selection during the spring and summer markets. It made me realize that though shopping at farmers markets may limit your choices, it also forces you to be more in-touch with the growing seasons. It’s definitely a more natural way to shop and consume your produce.

pasture, potato, vegetable
Rachael E. Worthington

Final Thoughts:

Though you might not be able to find all your weekly staples at your farmers market, the produce they sell tastes much better and is more nutritious, due to it not travelling as far as the produce you find at the grocery store and typically being picked at the prime of its growth. You also get to talk to people who have a passion for what they do, and it feels good to chat with the people who are handling your food. The prices are also relatively similar to what you would find at your grocery store. For anyone interested in food sustainability, smart consumption, and their health, I highly recommend checking out your local farmers market.

The Fort Collins Winter Farmers Market is located in Old Town’s Opera Galleria and runs from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. every other Saturday. The last market will be held on April 8th, so get there soon!