Celebrate the end of harvest season and discover local treasures with the Boulder County Farmers Markets Winter Market

Celebrate the end of harvest season and discover local treasures with the Boulder County Farmers Markets Winter Market

The shopping days before Christmas and Hanukkah are numbered, but this weekend people can discover rare finds for everyone on their list.

People buy produce at BCFM's winter market last year.  (Kristen Boyer/Courtesy photo)
People buy produce at BCFM’s winter market last year. (Kristen Boyer/Courtesy photo)

The Boulder County Farmers Markets Winter Market returns to the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and it promises plenty of opportunities to buy everything from finely baked goods worked to intricate jewelry.

Bjorn's Colorado Honeycomb.  (Bjorn's Colorado Honey/Courtesy Photo)
Bjorn’s Colorado Honeycomb. Bjorn’s Colorado Honey is one of many vendors at this year’s BCFM Winter Market. (Bjorn’s Colorado Honey/Courtesy Photo)

“The winter market provides respite from the chaos of holiday shopping,” said MacKenzie Sehlke, executive director of Boulder County Farmers Markets. “It’s a great opportunity to catch up with your neighbors – sellers and buyers. Everything in the market will be grown or made locally, giving customers the opportunity to buy unique gifts for friends and family while supporting local businesses.

With over 100 diverse artists and local businesses touting their wares, this annual event brings the best of Colorado makers to Longmont for two full days.

It’s also an opportunity to stock up on last-minute winter products and offer a one-of-a-kind gift.

“Personally, I’m excited to shop for a mix of handcrafted gifts and ingredients to create local food baskets for friends and loved ones this year,” Sehlke said. “I’ll be stopping at our farmers’ stands to buy unique local squash varieties to make squash butter, which is so delicious with goat cheese, crackers, cold meats, pear jams and a bottle of wine or strong cider.”

Batiks, artisan soaps and lotions, locally roasted coffee beans and clothing are all part of the eclectic mix for sale.

“A Bite of Boulder,” a cookbook by Jessica Benjamin featuring more than 40 recipes from Front Range restaurants, will be on sale at the BCFM Winter Market. (First bite/courtesy photo)

The First Bite Boulder team is one of the many participants who will be present this weekend. During the 2020 pandemic shutdowns, Jessica Benjamin — executive director of First Bite — worked with local restaurants to write a cookbook featuring restaurant dishes. A portion of the book’s proceeds went to the establishments featured.

“We are excited to be participating in the Winter Market this year,” said Benjamin. “It will be a great opportunity to showcase ‘A Bite of Boulder’ in a new way, alongside some of the ingredients you can find in the market and other amazing sellers.”

The comprehensive book – featuring over 40 recipes – is sure to add some excitement to your cooking adventures at home. From delicious crab cakes served at Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar to tasty root vegetable latkes at River and Woods, a variety of dishes will have you cooking like the pros in the comfort of your own kitchen.

“The cookbook makes a fantastic hostess gift for all those holiday get-togethers, the perfect gift for the Boulder foodie in your life, or a great gift for someone who visited this year or is planning to visit soon,” Benjamin said. “We’re on the last crates of cookbooks, so it will only be available at the Winter Market, online at firstbiteboulder.com and at our partner retailers until the end of the year.”

At left, Griffin Giordano, owner of the Umami Project, sells tempeh at BCFM's winter market last year.  (Kristen Boyer/Courtesy photo)
Griffin Giordano, left, owner of Project Umami, sells tempeh at BCFM’s winter market last year. (Kristen Boyer/Courtesy photo)

Cooking enthusiasts may be blessed with another Benjamin cookbook in the near future.

“We plan to store the last copies to package them with a possible second edition,” said Benjamin. “Fifty percent of proceeds still go to participating restaurants – which still exist – and we’re excited to total them starting with the holiday retail season in early 2023.”

Benjamin and his team will also show off their gift wrapping skills for those who want to have their winter market gifts professionally wrapped.

“I can’t say I always pull a six-inch ribbon loop, but we love to wrap,” Benjamin said. “It will be so nice to turn these already special gifts into a nicer surprise.”

Lafayette-based artist Jennifer Grant of Arubymoon is one of many artists selling out this weekend.

The art of Jennifer Grant of arubymoon can be seen at BCFM's Winter Market last year.  (Kristen Boyer/Courtesy photo)
Art by Arubymoon’s Jennifer Grant can be seen at BCFM’s Winter Market last year. (Kristen Boyer/Courtesy photo)

“Winter Market is such a vibrant community event with amazing and diverse offerings – farmers, bakers, makers, artists, music, food trucks,” Grant said. “My favorite thing is connecting with vendor friends and people who frequent the market and shop at local businesses. The energy is high, positive and fun, and the joy of the season is present and well celebrated.

Grant is known for her colorful gratitude flags inspired by Tibetan prayer flags. She primarily works in linoleum or soft rubber to carve block prints with patterns inspired by the Colorado exterior.

Intended to celebrate life’s “passion, milestones and moments”, her dynamic work often conveys messages of hope, comfort and gratitude.

Ornaments by Jennifer Grant of arubymoon.  Grant will be on sale again at the BCFM Winter Market this weekend.  (Jennifer Grant/Courtesy photo)
Ornaments by Jennifer Grant of Arubymoon. Grant will be on sale again at the BCFM Winter Market this weekend. (Jennifer Grant/Courtesy photo)

“A lot of my recent work has been about support, loss and grief, which is tender and difficult for many at this time of year,” Grant said. “I’ve also created more flags and ornaments to celebrate coastal imagery, desert and garden pollinators. It’s always my goal to try to have something for everyone.

From majestic bison scenes to snow-capped Flatirons, these handmade wooden ornaments are sure to add a little sparkle to any tree.

She also reimagined historic Santa Claus art, inspired by a relative, in new flags of gratitude.

“I was inspired to add some season-specific designs, including Santas,” Grant said. “These blocks were carved from oil paintings my great-grandfather made in the 1940s for his grandchildren. He created a new one every year, and I wanted to share these beautiful images and l spirit of the season.

Santa's Gratitude Flags by Jennifer Grant of arubymoon.  (Jennifer Grant/Courtesy photo)
Santa’s Gratitude Flags by Jennifer Grant of Arubymoon. (Jennifer Grant/Courtesy photo)

Grant’s work fills spaces throughout the year. Sweet messages amid whimsical depictions of towering aspen trees and Volkswagen vans create an eye-catching backdrop, whatever the season.

“The best part of my job is when I hear people’s stories of flags, where they send them, hang them, share them,” Grant said. “There are lots of laughs and sometimes tears shed in the storytelling and the connections made. I am humbled and so grateful to be able to do what I do and make it resonate with others.

Live entertainment is always part of the winter market mix.

“This year, we’re thrilled to have KGNU and Rocky Mountain Chorale join us in soothing the ears of our shoppers,” Sehlke said. “Saturday, KGNU will be broadcasting live from the Winter Market all day, and Sunday shoppers can expect a healthy dose of holiday cheer from Rocky Mountain Chorale, Boulder’s oldest community choir.”

Family-friendly activities will be popping up throughout the weekend, including a Slow Food Boulder soup-making demonstration on Saturday starting at 11 a.m.

The winter market will feature handmade gifts including jewelry from Dana Birke Designs, (Boulder County Farmers Market/Courtesy Photo)
The Winter Market will feature handmade gifts including jewelry from Dana Birke Designs. (Boulder County Farmers Market/Courtesy Photo)

“It’s no secret that many of the big companies pushing holiday shopping don’t share the values ​​of our community,” Sehlke said. “Whether that means unfair labor practices, questionable material sourcing or just creating a lot of waste. Buying locally allows you to support small local businesses that share your values.

From serene wildlife photography by Dan Dietrich to clean-burning, fragrant varieties by Matchbox Candle Co., the amount of Winter Market items up for grabs is massive.

“This weekend, you can put your money where your home is by supporting local growers, manufacturers and specialty growers right here in the Front Range and Colorado,” Sehlke said.

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