By Rebecca Treon

Spring is synonymous with the start of market season in Colorado.

This weekend, markets will kick off across the state — but in the pandemic, things will be different. As an important part of the state’s food chain, Farmers Markets have been designated as essential businesses, connecting us with fresh, healthy food while supporting local family farms and ranches. There are more than 100 markets across the state, many of which are opening in May with more to become operational in June.

This year, new guidelines will be in place due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Markets will be operating with rules in place for social distancing, for example, and markers on the ground will delineate customer separation. Some markets, like the Boulder County Farmers Market, are launching online ordering platforms to place orders ahead of time and schedule curbside pickup. While Farmers Markets are often considered a social gathering place, shoppers are encouraged to keep their distance from others, let vendors bag products for you instead of touching them, and stay only long enough to get your items and leave.

The Colorado Farmers Market Association (CFMA) is coordinating with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment and local public health agencies to prioritize safety. CFMA also recommends checking market websites and social media pages to find out if there are any changes in operations. The Colorado Proud website has a list of markets across the state with locations, hours, days, and contact information as well as a map and a guide titled “Be a Good Farmers Market Citizen in the Midst of COVID-19”.

Colorado Farmers Market 'Buy Local' sign

Below is a list of Denver-area Farmers Markets that will be open this season.

Boulder County Farmers Market,

which also operates the Union Station Farmers Market and others, has moved to an online model they’re calling BCFM2Go, accepting orders mid-week for weekend pickup at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont. They’re working on opening an “in person” market on May 16th and in Longmont on May 25th with other markets to follow suit. Slow Food Denver and Slow Food Boulder County will be handing out free seed packets there to encourage people to start their own gardening projects as people did during other national crises, calling them Victory Gardens.

Cherry Creek Farmers Market

does not have plans to open this season. In Aurora, Southlands Mall hopes to open their weekly Saturday market starting in June.

Boulter’s 5280 Markets,

which runs weekly markets in University Hills, Evergreen, and Green Valley, Lone Tree and the Co-op on 1st, has adapted to curbside pickup and COVID restrictions using face coverings and other protective measures.

Golden Farmers Market

is operating on Saturdays.

Denver Farmers Market,

which operates several markets throughout the metro area, including Littleton (Southwest Plaza and Aspen Grove), Lakewood (Mile Hi Church), Highlands Ranch (Town Center), and Reunion (Reunion Rec Center) are operating as normal with COVID restrictions in place. In Wheat Ridge, Fours Seasons Farmers & Artisans Market is operating, too.

In addition to this year’s rapidly adapting and still robust Farmers Markets, local farms like Black Cat in Boulder are offering produce by delivery in a vintage truck or at the farm via farm stand. Restaurants like Modern Market are offering grocery boxes. Restaurants like Tavernetta, Restaurant Olivia, and Maine Shack are selling meal kits so you can make your own dinners from your favorite restaurants. Food Halls like Milk Market and Denver Central Market have converted into grocery stores. CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) are operating as usual, selling memberships that provide weekly boxes of fresh produce; some offer pickup while others offer delivery.

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