Downtown Farmers Market in Salt Lake City gets summer ready
Now that the Winter Farmers Market has wrapped, preparations for the warm-weather version are underway.
Driving the news: The Downtown Farmers Market in Salt Lake City's Pioneer Park is set to launch June 3 and operate through Oct. 21.
- It will run every Saturday from 8am to 2pm.
Why it matters: Since 1992, the summer market has acted as an incubator for small businesses, Carly Gillespie, deputy director of Urban Food Connections of Utah, a Downtown Alliance program, told Axios.
- It's helped accelerate local businesses like Rico Brand, Intermountain Gourmet and Sweet Lake Biscuits & Limeade, which now operates three brick-and-mortar restaurants in Utah.
How it works: The event is considered one of the largest farmers markets in the Intermountain region, per Gillespie, attracting between 10,000 and 20,000 visitors every weekend.
- All vendors must live within 250 miles of the market.
- Visitors can expect to see 200 to 300 vendors, and this summer's market will see the end of previous COVID-19 restrictions that required extra spacing between vendors and limited the number of prepared food vendors.
Flashback: Last year, nearly one-third of vendors were people of color and 55% were women, Gillespie noted. Meanwhile, vendors represented more than half of Utah's 29 counties.
What they're saying: "We're able to interact directly with the customer," said Adam Wong, who grows and sells up to eight mushroom varieties at the market through his business, Intermountain Gourmet.
- Wong set up shop at the market in 2016. Today, he grows about 1,000 to 1,500 pounds of mushrooms a week at a 4,000-square-foot warehouse in Ogden. Oquirrh, Italian Graffiti and Harmons Grocery are among his clients, he said. Some of his customers learned about Wong's mushrooms at the market.
- This season will mark 25 years since Rico Brand CEO and president Jorge Fierro began selling homemade frijoles de olla for $2 a bag at the market.
- "Little by little people started finding my products," Fierro, who is from Chihuahua, told Axios about introducing his family's Mexican recipes to Salt Lakers. Since then, he's expanded his product line to include tamales, fresh salsas, burritos and more. His products are sold in about 75 grocery stores and businesses across the state.
What's next: Organizers are in the process of reviewing vendor applications.
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