Margaret and Dick Barkey are not your average retirees; instead of ramping down for their retirement in 2005, the couple bought a farm near Fort Lupton. For the next decade, they sold their products, including hay, meat, eggs, and bath and beauty products at a weekly market at Second Avenue and Santa Fe Drive in Denver, but when that market closed last year, they focused their energies on creating a new outlet for their merchandise. After months of searching, they found an empty building in northern Wheat Ridge and, together with more than two dozen other local vendors, turned it into the metro area’s first year-round farmers’ market.
While Four Seasons Farmers & Artisans Market is open every day except Monday, most of the vendors are there on weekends when the market is a lively jumble of stalls selling locally-made cheeses, handcrafted soaps, jewelry, and T-shirts, as well as flavorful vinegars, jams, and salsas. From artwork to fermented sauerkraut, there’s something to appeal to every taste. And although Colorado’s winter months don’t yield a ton of produce, you will find greenhouse-grown cucumbers and tomatoes year-round.
The sunny, open market space also serves as a vibrant community center. People gather at tables or check books out from the large lending library, where anyone is free to borrow books off the shelves. There are regular talks offered by vendors and outside experts that inform the community about topics such as composting, food fermentation, and cookie decorating. And in the summer, the market expands outdoors to sell fresh Colorado-grown produce including Palisade peaches.
Whether you’re searching for a handmade gift, ingredients for lunch, or a freshly-baked cupcake, you’ll surely enjoy strolling through the market, sampling local dishes, and visiting with the Barkeys and the other local vendors.
Bonus: Visit this weekend (December 3 and 4) for the Holiday Farm, Art, Craft, and Gift Show, where you’ll find an extensive selection of gifts, artwork, and decor, as well as live music.
7043 West 38th Ave., Wheat Ridge, 720-560-6648