By Pauline Benetti
Southwest Organization for Sustainability
As we said last week: There is a thriving Farmers Market in Pagosa. The start date was last Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and every Saturday through Sept. 29. It’s at the same location, the east end of downtown, on the mountain side of the East Side Market. But we also said it is not easy to grow vegetables in the mountain so, as usual, the season begins a little slowly and our new and returning vendors quickly sold out. But the summer holds abundance, so don’t miss a market.
Viewing the market from a distance, the scene looked close to normal, with a few masks and folks standing a bit farther apart than usual. Perhaps, this is the new normal, but we can deal because there are many critical reasons for buying local, not the least of which is that local and regional products travel fewer miles, allowing produce to ripen on the trees and in the fields, ensuring the best flavor and greatest nutritional value.
The selection? Quite a variety which, naturally, will change and increase as the season goes on. Growers operating their own booths offered a full variety of freshly harvested vegetables: from her commercial kitchen (a well-appointed trailer), our baker offered freshly baked baguettes and hand pies (both fruity and savory), and our producer supplied eggs. For the sweet tooth among us, we had toffee in every flavor imaginable. We are looking forward to offering a selection of naturally raised and USDA-inspected beef cuts. The Small Growers Coop where backyard growers can bring the excess they have to market offered gardeners a variety of healthy, well-established starts — tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants and peppers — and there will be more this next market.
We continue to accept SNAP cards and continue to hand out free a $20 value of Double Up Bucks for the first $20 SNAP purchase, essentially doubling purchasing power. In addition, we are redeeming coupons from the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging which have been distributed to local seniors to encourage shopping at the Pagosa Farmers Market and buying nutritious local food.
This is the time to renew your membership in the Southwest Organization for Sustainability (SOS), the organization that supports the Pagosa Farmers Market and organizes our celebration of Earth Day plus other activities that promote sustainability in Archuleta County. Look for the SOS booth. Support also comes from the Town of Pagosa Springs and the Pagosa Area Tourism Board. Both of these entities recognize the important role played by the market both for locals and tourists.
For information about the market or how to become a vendor, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you Saturday.