On a blustery Saturday, the Cortez Farmers Market sprouted up at Elm and Main streets, and will continue through its usual summer season, but with some COVID-related adjustments.
The market opened Saturday and will run through Oct. 31. It looks a bit different this season – more of an open air grocery market than community gathering place.
Bessie White, who founded the market over four decades ago, said she doesn’t mind.
“I don’t mind to be careful,” she said, adding, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
The market is still in the parking lot of the Montezuma County administration building, but this year, there are two designated entrances: on Elm Street and on the southeast corner of the market.
Because organizers hope to discourage social gatherings, there initially won’t be music, library storytelling or community booth.
Opening day bloomed to sporadic rain and high winds. Masked vendors tied down tents and held down their wares to keep them from blowing away. Customers were asked to mask up and distance themselves from one another. Hand sanitizer was spread throughout.
Barbara Lynch was selling some of her abundant spinach crop from McElmo Canyon.
“I’ve been eating spinach for the past two weeks,” she said.
Lynch has gone to the market for 25 years, after moving from Texas and learning to garden in Southwest Colorado.
It was a tricky kickoff to the season, she said, because of the limited number of vendors, social spacing and weather. But she plans to sell lettuce and bok choy too.
The market is open 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
The first goods being sold include cool weather crops, said market co-manager Jodie Sutton, including: rhubarb, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, lettuce, carrots, beets, broccoli, peas, arugula, radishes, sprouts and herbs, along with meats, eggs, baked goods, spices, vinegars, local-roasted coffee and breakfast burritos.
Craft vendors will initially be kept to a minimum, Sutton said.
Curbside pickup is being offered this year too. Customers can call or email vendors in advance (preferably by Thursday), and pick up their orders between 8 and 10 a.m. in a designated space by the county administration building’s parking lot.