The Snow-Kissed Market


Amy Patterson, Reporter

Summertime in Woodland Park, Colorado, yields warm, breezy weather, near constant sunshine, and a Farmers’ Market of undeniable quality. Fresh green beans, salsas, and even smoked fish are available to the everyday consumer; the unmistakable odor of recently cooked Mexican cuisines fill the noses of every passerby.

Unfortunately, many members of the Woodland Park community have the misconception that this glorious marketplace goes into hibernation for the winter. However, this is absolutely not the case. If anything, the market grows even more magnificent in the chilly months, when it is housed in the Ute Pass Cultural Center and referred to as the Winter Farmers’ Market.

On the second Saturday of every month from October to May, a vast array of vendors congregate in the Ute Pass Cultural Center to proliferate tasty, and often organic, goods to the people of Woodland Park. Cheese, dried beans, pasta, fruits, vegetables, meats and more are offered, along with a slew of nonedibles, such as alpaca yarn, soaps, and skin care products.

Particularly stunning among these nonedible products were the works of Rene’ Young, a local watercolor artist. Young, with almost thirty years of painting experience, studied as an oil painter, but says she prefers the versatility of watercolors. “My paintings take anywhere from four to forty hours to complete,” Young told me, flashing a friendly smile, “It really just depends on the subject.” Young’s paintings, often containing “whimsical and mysterious themes”, bring a wealth of color and beauty to a market comprised primarily of muted fall tones. When the Winter Farmers’ Market is not in session, her work can be found at in addition to her home studio.

One regular customer, Gail Wingerd, a native business owner, has been attending the Winter Farmers’ Market for the last three years. “I’m big on shopping local, especially during the holidays,” says Wingerd. “The selection is a lot different in the winter. I buy everything from soap to produce. Last month I bought a wool-blend hat.”

Soon after our interview, Wingerd directed me to a fresh produce vendor where I met Heather Person of C and R Farms. The 145 acre orchard was one of the first vendors to become involved in the Woodland Park Farmers’ Markets, even helping to initially establish it. Person has been selling bing cherries, rainier cherries, apricots, peaches, pears, nectarines, plums, and apples grown on her family’s farm near Palisade for the last sixteen years. “Oh, we’re known for our peaches,” grinned Person, “We sell between three hundred and four hundred boxes every week.”

Although  winter is typically known for its blues, perhaps it’s time for Woodland Park to start knowing it for its greens, oranges, and yellows. This winter, consider stopping by the Winter Farmers’ Market. I’ll give you my disappointment-free guarantee.