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Boulder County Farmers Market. Photo by Tyler Percy

Boulder County Farmers Market, Unlike Anything Else

In Attractions, Entertainment, Food & Drink, Shopping, Things to do by Aimee Heckel1 Comment

This is so much more than just outdoor grocery shopping. The Boulder County Farmers Market is one of the most happening events in Boulder. A trip to town wouldn’t be complete without it.

This is Boulder at its purest. Walk past colorful booths selling local produce and products and shake hands with the farmers who grew them. Indulge in enough healthy free samples to qualify as a full meal, while listening to free, live music. Grab a snack for lunch and take it to the next-door park or creek, before heading to the dazzling Dushanbe Tea House for a cup of chai surrounded by statues and then taking a tour of the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Boulder County Farmers Market is always busy, ever changing and well-established as one of the best farmers markets in the nation. In fact, Clean Eating Magazine and Cooking Light Magazine both named it one of America’s 50 Best Farmers’ Markets. Vegetarian Times also crowned it one of the country’s best.

It’s a foodie paradise, blending local fare with entertainment and socialization. It’s also a great way to spend a free or super cheap weekend in Boulder, whether you’re with family or traveling solo, looking to make new connections.

Boulder’s Saturday market kicks off April 1 this year and runs through November. Find it on 13th Street in downtown Boulder, between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue, next to Central Park. Here’s all you need to know to get the most out of the Boulder County Farmers Market.

Fresh greens from Black Cat Farms. Photo by Tyler Percy

When is the Boulder County Farmers Market?

There are actually three Boulder County Farmers Markets in the county: two in Boulder and one in Longmont. Other smaller towns in the county also hold their own markets.

Boulder has two markets: on Saturdays and Wednesday. Longmont’s is also on Saturdays.

Boulder’s Saturday market
April 1-Nov. 18
8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Longmont’s Saturday market
April 1-Nov. 18
8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Boulder’s Wednesday market
May 3-Oct. 4
4-8 p.m.

What Makes the Boulder County Farmers Market So Special?

The nonprofit Boulder County Farmers Market is more than 25 years old. The vendors here must grow or produce their own food in order to sell it. No re-selling or buying from a wholesaler allowed. This means everything is completely local and authentic. Most farmers are organic and non-gmo.

All waste is composted or recycled, so this is an environmentally friendly event.

Spring time at the Farmers Market means Succulents!! Photo by Tyler Percy.

What Food is at the Boulder County Farmers Market?

The vendor list is long (more than 150 participants), but in the past you could find everything from gyros to polenta and marinara to dumplings to die for. Look for kettle corn, fresh pastries and fantastic tortilla chips with artisan salsa. You can also typically buy pasta, local honey, a wide range of meats and dairy products (mmm, gourmet cheese). Pick up some hot sauce as a souvenir of your trip in Colorado.

Although the Saturday Boulder market is the most popular, Wednesday night is our favorite because, well, thinner crowds, but also the later timing means you can also buy alcohol. Wednesdays include a beer garden, with local wine and brew. The beer garden has a different brewery every week.

Coffee-lovers will be happy to know it’s often served at the farmers markets, too.

Produce changes with the seasons, naturally, from peaches and plums to apples in the fall.

Longmont Versus Boulder Farmers Markets

Local tip: Longmont can get excruciatingly hot in the summer because there’s no shade, other than from vendor tents, so bring extra water and make sure to wear sunscreen and a hat. Yes, it can get that hot.
The Longmont market has a totally different feel than Boulder. It’s a little more separated from the community because it’s in the expansive fairgrounds parking lot rather than tucked between tall trees near the downtown park.

A benefit of the Longmont market is ample free parking and the pavilion, where you can find free, fun events. Parking is much trickier to find in downtown Boulder and it’s not all free on Saturdays. Some is, though, like the city lots and parking garages. Beware of meters, though. They’re not free and parking enforcers have a knack for knowing the second your meter expires and distributing a ticket.

Some Surprising Facts About the Boulder Farmers Market

  • Although Boulder loves its dogs, no pets are allowed at the market.
  • Vendors aren’t just farmers. You can also find representatives from local restaurants and artists. The market holds monthly art shows.
  • You can find unique produce here, too, such as purple beans, seedless yellow watermelon and golden beets, to name a few.
  • Booths sell more than just food. Also look for fresh-cut flowers, crafts, soaps, home decor, potted seedlings and wreaths.
  • Even when the farmers markets aren’t running, you can get local food. The farmers market also runs the Seeds Library Cafe at the Boulder Public Library, where you can find food and coffee (at least 75 percent of the menu is all local). This is a fun place to grab a salad or sandwich near Boulder Creek. It’s open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.

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