It’s May, which means it’s time for the Durango Farmers Market, now in its 25th year, to return. The first market will be held Saturday in the parking lot of TBK Bank.
The farmers market will look a lot like it did last year, with COVID-19 protocols including mask-wearing, wash stations and 6-foot spacing between vendor stalls and market-goers.
“It should go a little bit smoother than last year,” said market manager Tom Little. “We’re a little more optimistic this year because we were going in totally blind last year.”
The fact that the market serves multiple functions complicates things when it comes to COVID-19 regulations.
“We have to go by what the state regulations are for restaurants, for outdoor live-entertainment venues and for grocery stores,” he said.
Little is optimistic, though, that the situation will ease up before the market season ends in October.
“It’s possible we’ll get rid of the masks before the year is over,” he said.
On a more positive note, DFM will bring back something it was missing in 2020: live music and performing artists.
Little said the first market will feature a performance by the Durango Shimmy Mob from 10 a.m. to noon, and subsequent markets will feature musical acts. On July 24, the market will feature classical music from Music in the Mountains to celebrate DFM’s 25th anniversary.
This season will also bring an increase in the availability of certain foods at the market.
“We’ve got four mushroom cultivators, and we haven’t had any the last couple of years,” he said. “That’s a big change because there’s always been a real high demand for that. Also, we’ve got I think three or four honey producers. The market always sells every jar of honey any of our farmers can come up with.”
Local farmers typically aren’t necessarily ready for the markets early in the season, Little said, and as a result, DFM starts out a bit more artisan-heavy. He said the farmers market would also have more artisans than normal throughout the year.
“We have more artisan vendors this time, and we also have more of ... the chefs that take the farmers’ food and then make it into ready-to-eat meals there at the market,” he said. “We have quite a bit more in those two categories this year.”
Products sold by artisans at the Durango Farmers market include wool, paintings, ceramics, wood items, clothes, jewelry, soap, herbal tinctures and CBD products.
The Durango Farmers Market is located in the parking lot of TBK Bank, 259 West Ninth St. It runs from 8 a.m. to noon (9 a.m. to noon in October) Saturdays through October.