I F Yo U R E ALLY wANT To E XP E R I E N CE the beating culinary heart of any city, spend some time at a farmer’s market. it’s the best place in town to get an authentic feel for the people, the culture, and the style. You can taste the local fare and converse with the growers and the makers. it will engage all of your senses and you might just learn something new.
he Downtown Farmer’s Market in Salt Lake City’s Pioneer Park offers all of the above, along with a palpable sense of optimism and vitality. Spread over a huge, grassy block surrounded by shade trees and an ever-growing food and urban loft district, it’s a fetching blend of “urban meets rural.” Nationally recognized, award-winning aged cheeses meet your basic plump carrots and countless varieties of garlic. Cool decoupaged light switch covers and glass-beaded jewelry meet stunning photography in the craft market; dogs meet strollers, and people actually converse about the gorgeous eggplant they just picked up. And, there’s always an event. Now in its 21st year, our Downtown Farmer’s Market draws 10,000 visitors to its Saturday summer extravaganzas.
Homegrown & Handmade How does a state with a relatively short growing season support a market of such abundance? “Utah’s culture of homegrown and handmade is highly unusual compared to the rest of the nation,” says market manager Kim Angeli. “We have a community market that boasts a huge number of vendors in relation to our population, and it just keeps growing.” In fact, around 150 food vendors and 80 artists, along with the weekly crowds, make it one of the west’s largest community markets. Add the honor of being voted 3rd in the nation in America’s Favorite Farmer’s Markets (sponsored by America’s Farmland Trust) and it’s clear, this a thriving institution and contributor to the community.
About Community “The people of Utah own this market – they really care about it and they often come up with the best ideas as well as the most helpful critiques about how it’s run,” Angeli emphasizes. “I love that they care enough to do that.” In addition to fostering that sense of ownership among vendors and shoppers, Angeli and her staff have worked to partner with all kinds of nonprofits to further the market’s educational mission — that of connecting rural and urban communities and teaching kids and adults where our food comes from. The market is also instrumental in helping small businesses grow and thrive. Staff offer one-on-one vendor training, helping startups get ready to step through regulations and agencies, taxes, even product labeling. “We also do other training, including the best ways to sample,” says Angeli. “It’s been fun to see that in some cases, the kids of the growers are the ones who come and sell and earn money. Over the past several years I’ve seen a lot more young people interested in farming and growing. Sometimes their parents are just happier behind the scenes and are glad to have their kids out front, getting the experience and working with the public.” downtownslc.org