By Pauline Benetti
Special to The PREVIEW
A farmers market in Pagosa Springs. Between a short season and poor soil, who could grow vegetables in Pagosa? That’s what they said 11 years ago, and guess what? There has been a thriving farmers market in Pagosa all these years.
The Pagosa Farmers Market (PFM) start date is this Saturday, June 16, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and every Saturday through Sept. 15. Plan a visit every week. Make it a habit.
So, what’s to be found at the PFM? Quite a variety which, naturally, changes as the season goes on.
Producers operating their own booths will offer a full range of freshly harvested vegetables (even greenhouse tomatoes), vegetable starts (lots of tomato plants), as well as baked goods, jams, honey, pestos, salsas, cheeses and a wide selection of naturally raised beef cuts. It’s easy enough to shop for lunch, dinner or a snack on Saturday morning at the PFM.
Now about location. Until three years ago, the PFM could be found in one of our local parking lots and we are grateful to the merchants who shared their space with us; however, a parking lot is not optimally comfortable for vendor or customer. Then came the offer from the East Side Market to share the great space at the east end of town with its many amenities — music, tables, shade, food court and bathrooms.
Rather than increase booth fees, market volunteers have pursued grants to pay for operating expenses such as advertisement, insurance, Colorado Farmers Market Association membership and more. The Pagosa Springs Area Tourism Board, recognizing that farmers markets are a strong tourism draw, has been a strong supporter of the PFM.
The PFM “brand” emanates from the mission of its sponsor, the Southwest Organization for Sustainability. That mission is to promote sustainability efforts in Archuleta County. The PFM does that by providing a venue and services to small local growers and producers who also subscribe to the sustainability mission and by encouraging customers who also believe in that mission to buy locally.
Another aspect of the PFM brand encourages consumers to know their farmer in order to know their food, thereby encouraging the creation of community and the consumption of healthy food.
Finally, we must mention that the PFM also invites SNAP recipients to buy fresh, locally produced food at the market and to benefit by the Double Up Bucks Program which will double their purchasing power up to $20 dollars at each market.
The PFM is a great introduction to the town, local residents and local products, and it is one way for consumers to know where their food is coming from and under what conditions it is produced. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Pauline Benetti