The weather is warming, the crocuses are blooming, and the 2021 Colorado farmers’ market season is officially here. Several local markets opened last weekend—and many more on the Front Range are slated to launch in the coming weeks and months.
For now, many markets will open with the same COVID-19 protocols they had in 2020, meaning capacity will be limited and shoppers will be asked to mask up and keep a six foot distance from others. Guidelines could change throughout the season, though, so it’s a good idea to check your local market’s website before you go.
Ahead, we’ve rounded up key details about the 2021 farmers’ market season. Here’s what you need to know.
In normal times, the Metro Denver Farmers’ Market doesn’t open until May. But this year, the organization decided to unveil two of their five markets in April in an effort to help local vendors who don’t have anywhere to sell their goods during the pandemic. With that, the Southwest Plaza Market will run every Saturday from April 3 to October 30 (10 a.m.–2 p.m. in April; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in May–October). And the Highlands Ranch Market will operate Sundays starting April 11 to October 31 (10 a.m.–2 p.m.). The remaining three markets will open in June: The Lakewood Market will sell on Saturdays starting June 12 through September 25 (10 a.m.–2 p.m.), the Littleton Market will run on Wednesdays beginning June 16 until September 29 (10 a.m.–2 p.m.), and the Clement Park Market will open Thursdays from June 17 to September 30 (10 a.m.–2 p.m.).
The Boulder County Farmers’ Market (BCFM) also kicks things off this weekend with the debut of the Boulder Saturday Market and the Longmont Saturday Market. Both will run 8 a.m.–2 p.m. and continue through November 20. The Boulder Wednesday Market will open May 5 through October 6 (4 p.m.–dusk). And the Denver Union Station Saturday Market will begin May 8 and continue until October 23 (9 a.m.–2 p.m.). The Lafayette Thursday Market is expected to open in mid-July; exact date and details are still yet to be announced. You can walk up or reserve a shopping time for each of the markets; reserving a time guarantees entry in the event the space reaches COVID capacity restrictions, but “I think most people will be just fine walking up and getting into the market,” says BCFM executive director Brian Coppom. You can also order online for curbside pickup and delivery.
Boulter’s 5280 Urban Markets will host four markets this year, including a new Thursday Edgewater Market that is slated to launch in June and run until September (details TBD; check the website for latest info). The Saturday University Hills Market will operate May 15 through October 30 (9 a.m.–1 p.m.). The Tuesday Evergreen Market will kick off June 1 and continue until September 28 (10 a.m.–2 p.m.). And the Wednesday Green Valley Market will run from June 30 to September 1 (5–8 p.m.). Shoppers can also place orders online for pickup or delivery.
Edgwater isn’t the only neighborhood getting a new market. The City Park Farmers’ Market in East Denver will debut May 15 and operate every Saturday through October 30 (8 a.m.–1 p.m.) in the place previously occupied by City Park Esplanade Fresh Market. Co-founded by Peter Wanberg of Jubilee Roasting Co. and Margo Wanberg of 3 Sisters Honey, the City Park Farmers’ Market will feature upwards of 60 local vendors, all of whom are Colorado-based. Highlights include: Pastures of Plenty Farm, Bjorn Colorado Honey, Ela Family Farms, Pandemic Donuts, and Haystack Mountain Creamery.
The intent of the market, explains Margo, is to provide a grocery store-like alternative where locals can buy produce and where neighbors can connect with each other and better understand where their food comes from. Adds Peter: “We’re kind of coming back to what farmers’ markets are supposed to be.” He explains that the market is “made up of farmers and local food startups and people that are just basically trying to do things as locally and as simplistically as possible to support the local economy.”
Real Farmers Markets is back this year with a trio of offerings. The Erie Farmers Market will run on Thursdays starting May 13 through September 9 (5–8 p.m.). The Louisville Farmers Market will sell on Saturdays beginning May 15 until October 9 (9 a.m.–1 p.m.). And the Highlands Farmers Market will operate on Sundays from May 23 to October 10 (9 a.m.–1 p.m.).
The Sunday South Pearl Street Farmers’ Market will return May 9 and continue until November 14 (9 a.m– 1 p.m.). The Colorado Fresh Market in Cherry Creek will operate its Saturday Market from May 1 to October 30 (9 a.m.–2 p.m.) and its Wednesday Market from June 16 to September 29 (9 a.m.–1 p.m.).
For Golden folks: The Saturday Golden Farmers Market opens June 5 and will continue through October 2 (8 a.m.–1 p.m.) And for Fort Collins residents: The Larimer County Farmers’ Market will operate Saturdays starting May 22 until October 30 (9 a.m.–1 p.m.).