Rifle Farmers Market gets underway
The Rifle Farmers Market returns for the 2016 season Thursday, and market goers can expect more than just fresh, Colorado-grown produce.
In addition to three vendors whose main focus is produce, the market will offer other foods, such as eggs, baked goods and more, as well crafts and trinkets. The number of vendors has not increased but the variety has, said Cathleen Anthony, market manager.
Dana Wood, a farmers market board member, concurred.
“I think we have a good all-around variety of vendors,” she said. “It’s not too heavy on your artisan crafts or fruit. There’s going to be a good variety of everything.”
Electric Lemon will kick things off on the entertainment front, with a roster of local musicians following each Thursday through September in the Second Street lot, located at 139 Railroad Ave.
Bands start at 5 p.m. but the market runs 4-8 p.m. — the same as last year. Organizers are hoping that, rather than compete with the Hilltop Concert Series at the Bookcliffs Arts Center, people will be able to stop by the market and still have an opportunity to make it to the concert, said Anthony, who also serves as assistant to the Greater Rifle Improvement Team — a collaborative effort between stakeholders, such as the Rifle Downtown Development Authority and Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce, commonly known as GRIT.
Part of GRIT’s effort involves bringing various groups together to coordinate when there are overlapping events. Anthony noted the Hilltop Concert Series, which expanded this summer in order to replace the previous summer concert series hosted at Centennial Park, took place on Thursdays last summer as well, a fact that has somewhat alleviated concerns that the two events will compete with one another.
The summer concerts start at 6:30 at the Bookcliffs Arts Center.
While there are no set plans for dual promotion at the two events, Anthony said she promotes both on social media.
One exciting change this year, according to Anthony, is the Rifle market’s participation in the Double Up Food Bucks Colorado program.
Double Up Colorado, as it is commonly called, provides a matching voucher up to $20 for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients who purchase fruits and vegetables at participating markets, according to LiveWell Colorado.
The program will be active at 30 farmers markets across the state, including in Glenwood Springs and New Castle, and is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
“It’s about eating healthier especially for people with lower income, and supporting Colorado growers,” Anthony said.
The Rifle Farmers Market runs from 4-8 p.m. each Thursday, June 23 through Sept. 29. The market accepts cash, credit/debit and SNAP.
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The city of Rifle plans to allocate grant funding for improvements to Railroad Avenue and Third Street.