Torrington Farmers Market Offers Much More Than Produce
Friday, June 08, 2018
As the demand for local products has risen in recent years, farmers markets have become increasingly popular. In 1994, there were 2,000 farmers markets in the country. Today, more than 8,700 markets are registered with the national farmers market directory.
Torrington’s farmers market has a long history in the area, dating back a couple of decades. It’s no wonder, since Goshen County leads the state in agricultural production.
In addition to traditional wares, such as fruits and vegetables, vendors sell a variety of handmade items at the farmers market. It serves as both a community gathering place and a business incubator. It also provides opportunities for education.
Historically, area master gardeners operated the market. More recently, it established a board of directors to help ensure long-term sustainability.
The market moved to City Park three years ago, which is close to downtown Torrington. The move and additional marketing efforts have helped the market grow, which is good for the local economy, according to board member Caleb Carter.
“Anytime you can get people to support local businesses, it’s huge. Anytime you’re spending money locally versus online there are benefits because dollars circulate in the local community,”Carter says.
Produce vendors remain the core of the market. But it has also attracted local makers and artisans who sell handmade items such as corn tortillas, baked goods, lotions, soaps, embroidery and more.
“We have a good variety of vendors and products out there, which is exciting. It brings people in. People enjoy that,” says Carter.
The market has increasingly served as a test market for budding entrepreneurs looking to build a customer base.
“It’s a good example of what’s great about farmers markets. People have an opportunity to sell products, make money — and even more so, it’s about building relationships which helps provides opportunities for vendors to find customers outside of the market,” explains Carter.
Carter notes that several vendors have worked with the Goshen County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC) to help develop their businesses and products. GCEDC also helps encourage and promote vendors.
“It’s a great partnership,” says Carter.
The market brings in up to 100 people each week. “The community has really embraced the market. It’s been great. If you go every week, you see the same people. It’s always fun to catch up,” Carter says.
The market provides great learning opportunities for kids and adults alike. When not busy with market organizational duties, Carter joins local master gardeners at a booth where they share expertise, answering gardening and lawn questions. He serves as an area educator for the University of Wyoming Extension.
Customers can interact with farmers and learn more about produce and where it comes from. Vendors often offer recipes for less familiar vegetables, such as kohlrabi and leeks.
Carter encourages parents to bring their children to the market. “It’s fun for them to see all the fresh produce available, and they are more likely to eat it if they help pick it out!”
The farmers market season opens on June 14 and runs every Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. until October 25. Some dates will include music and fun events such as a watermelon eating contest and soup cook off.
GCEDC will be serving up free walking tacos on the market’s opening day on June 14.
Learn more by visiting the Torrington Farmers Market Facebook page and website.