Boulder County Farmers’ Market

 

Saturdays -The Boulder Farmers’ Market Saturday season runs every Saturday beginning the first Saturday in April through the third Saturday in November,  8 a.m to 2 p.m.

Wednesdays -The Boulder Farmers’ Market Wednesday evening season runs every Wednesday beginning the first Wednesday in May, through the first Wednesday in October,  4 p.m to 8 p.m.

Our beautiful location on 13th Street between Arapahoe and Canyon, is next to Central Park in downtown Boulder. You can walk, ride your bike, take the bus or drive your car to visit us. www.boulderfarmers.org/home.html

Historically, there have been few organized markets in Boulder. There was a time when city grocery stores featured locally grown agricultural products. But as fruit and vegetable production centralized, farms grew larger in size and fewer in numbers. Many growers decided to enter the wholesale business and abandon their seemingly less profitable retail outlets. A small Farmers Market had gathered sporadically at the courthouse for ten years, but it had limited success, due mainly to it’s informal structure, lack of parking and nearby competition with the then newly consructed Pearl Street Mall.

 

In the Autumn of 1986, a small group of local farmers decided to organize a formal Farmer’s Market to be located in downtown Boulder, Colorado.  Tthe group approached the City of Boulder with their idea, and the City agreed to provide staff support, secretarial services, meeting spaces, appropriate permits and a site for the Market. Four University of Colorado students from the Presidential Leadership Program researched background information about other successful markets, site selection, organizational structure, promotional plans, bylaws and rules and regulations. Boulder County lent support through the County Commissioner’s Office and the Land Use Department. The State of Colorado offered assistance through it’s Agriculture Market Development and Extension Service. After many months of planning, site selection became the top priority. The site had to be permanent, highly visible, attractive, accessible and shaded. Boulder’s Central Park, located in the heart of the city, was chosen and the Boulder County Farmer’s Market was off and running!

 

The Market’s development is a good representation of many different groups working together for a common community goal. The partnership of private individuals and government entities productively laid the foundation for this successful project. In March of 1987, the Boulder County Farmer’s Market became a Colorado non-profit corporation, organized and run by local agricultural producers. A 13-member Board of Directors was formed to oversee the Market’s general operations, including advertising, promotion and management. Under the Board’s governances, Bylaws, Rules and Regulations and schedules were adopted. The Board decided to charge a minimal membership fee and a small percentage of daily sales to help defray Market operating expenses.

 

Another decision the Board made early on was that any profits greater than necessary to maintain the Market would become available to nonprofit agricultural and community projects. Over the years contributions have been made to 4H, the County Fair, WIC Nutritional Program and Cultiva!, an at-risk teen gardening project. The Market has also held many fundraising events for other agricultural and community oriented nonprofit centers.

 

The Market has grown in other ways. Select food vendors now sell during Market hours, providing breakfast and lunch fare for shoppers, as well as opportunities for farmers to sell directly to restaurant purveyors. Many agriculturally related organizations are allowed space to recruit for their cause. Special children’s events are scheduled throughout the season. A Chef’s Event, featuring Boulder’s world-famous chefs is a highlight of the year. Freshly baked goods from local bakeries are available. Fresh flowers and crafts (created from things grown or gathered by the seller) are in abundance. The Market employs nine people and contributes sales tax to the City and County coffers. The Market sells t-shirts, canvas shopping bags and other items as a way of generating revenue.

 

The Boulder County Farmers’ Market has become a community icon, a gathering place, a country block in the city. The ambience created at 13th Street next to Central Park is unmatchable: Boulder Creek, cool grass, tall trees, stunning rose and herb gardens at the neighboring Dushanbe Teahouse, brightly colored fresh cut flowers and piles of super fresh, locally grown produce. You can often see children coloring on the steps of the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. BCFM – the perfect setting for browsing, shopping, gathering, eating and catching up on the news.