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May 2015 • Online Edition

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Season’s Bountiful Harvest Nourishes Haves & Have Nots | Print |  E-mail

by Eileen Abbattista

With summer-turning-autumn on the horizon and harvest time beginning its peak, farmers markets throughout the area are overflowing with nutritious bounty from Colorado gardens, orchards, ranches and fields.

The South Pearl Street Farmers Market, already in its 14th season, has spread its wings in recent years to stretch along the entire 1500 block of S. Pearl St. and into the southern half of the 1400 block. The retail district hosts the market Sundays, 9a.m.-1p.m.

Along with a wonderful selection of Colorado produce and other handmade products, gourmet foods and home accessories, breads, cheeses and more, Pearl Street hosts live entertainment on a mid-market stage, special monthly festivals and a Flea Market the last Sunday of each month. The Aug. 17 market includes aHarvest Fair; Sept. 21 hosts a Pet Adoption Fair; Oct. 19 is the annual Chili Cook Off; and Oct. 26, HalloweenFest.

Info: visit southpearlstreet.com or call 303-734-0718.

Among the newest entries into the farmers market fray, Broadway Farmers Market, on the lawn of South Broadway Christian Church at 23 Lincoln St., provides an evening option, Wednesdays, 5-9p.m., through Sept. 3. The later market hours are designed to take advantage of the booming nighttime foot traffic that continues to increase along the Broadway corridor.

Denver’s first-ever sunset market welcomes Colorado growers and an assortment of specialty food vendors, as well as  food trucks and live entertainment.

Urbiculture Community Farms (UCF) offers fresh local produce every Saturday, 9a.m.-noon, at their farmstand at Celebration Community Urban Garden, 1650 S. Birch St. (at Iowa Ave., just east of Colorado Blvd.). UCF is committed to food justice, with a mission to provide healthy food for all people regardless of income. All produce at any of UCF farmstands is available for a suggested donation. Opportunities for volunteering, kids programs and bee-keeping classes are also offered. And don’t miss drop-in Sunset Yoga in the Garden, Tuesdays, 6:30-7:30p.m. – an all-level Vinyasa flow, $5/person suggested donation. Bring water, yoga mat or towel – and a friend!

The second annual Farm To Table Dinner, to benefit UCF, will take place at Celebration on Sat., Aug. 9, 6:30p.m. This locally grown, four-course fine dining experience includes your meal, wine, beer, garden tours and live music. Tickets cost $85. Info: ucfarms.org or 303-949-2901

Also part of the Urbiculture family, Gabrielle’s Garden, 852 Kalamath St., brings the La Alma/Lincoln Park community important access to fresh locally grown produce while sharing knowledge about nutrition through affordable classes, engaging citizens in urban farming and building a stronger sense of community through a mutual love of good food. A pay-what-you-can farmstand is open Saturdays, 9a.m.-noon and Wednesdays, 5-7p.m.

For details about Urbiculture Farms markets and other offerings: ucfarms.org or 303-949-2901.

For a look at urban farming close up and personal, head over to Ekar Farm, just east of Alameda Ave. and Monaco Pkwy. at 181 S. Oneida St. The Ekar veggie stand is open on Sundays, 10a.m. until sold out, proffering a variety of organic produce direct from the Ekar fields. If you’d like to join in the fun, Ekar hosts Days in the Dirt Sundays, 9a.m.-noon for volunteers willing to help tend the harvest.

Ekar will lead their annual Tour de Farm on Sun., Aug. 17, 8a.m.-1p.m. This fun morning bike ride takes lovers of the soil on a 16-mile jaunt along the High Line Canal “through the breadbasket of Denver” – from Ekar Farm to Sprout City Farm (at Denver Green School) for a tour, continuing on to Delaney Farm for a break and fresh Palisade peaches, and then back to Ekar for grilled Colorado Olathe corn and live bluegrass music.

The tour also touts the Lil Farmers Tour – a 5-mile ride with snacks and games at the Lil Farmers Turn-Around in the park at 2.5 miles. Cost for the tour is $25 per rider; $5 for riders under 13 years old; and $70 max per family. Info: call 303-520-7581 or visit ekarfarm.org. All proceeds directly benefit Ekar’s programming and donation of produce to Jewish Family Service’s Weinberg Food Pantry.

Denver Urban Gardens supports 125+ community gardens in metro Denver, including more than 35 school-based community gardens. Visit one of DUG’s stellar gardens during Rosedale Gardens Early Harvest Sale, across from Harvard Gulch Park (between E. Iliff Ave. and E. Harvard Ave. on S. Logan St.), on Sat., Aug. 16, 8a.m.-noon, a garden-wide, all volunteer effort.

Find fresh-picked organic vegetables and herbs; fresh-cut bouquets of flowers; homemade jams and baked goods; a kids booth featuring special treats; and a passport tour of the garden – plus, fall seedlings and grilled corn.

Rosedale gardeners broke new ground in 2014 with their Stinkin’ Rose Garlic Project; garden co-leader Amy Beck notes, “We grew 10 gourmet garlic types at the garden – total cloves planted were 3,100! The garlic will be available for sale at our harvest sales; we will host two garlic tasting events in early September” – find ticket info for those at the Early Harvest Sale.

Rosedale’s organic garlic varieties include: Purple Glazer; Thermadrone; Georgian Crystal; Inchelium Red; Spanish Roja; Silver Rose; Italian Heirloom; Chesnok Red; Red Toch; and Korean Mountain. If that don’t satisfy your garlic cravin’, folks, there’s just no pleasing you!

Rosedale Gardens’ bees “are having a phenomenal year,” says Beck, a testament to the beneficial organic methods adhered to throughout the community gardens. Rosedale’s Late Harvest Festival, with an abundance of fall crops and flowers (pumpkins, squash, and naturally – honey!) is Sat., Sept. 27, 9a.m.-noon. Info: dug.org or 303-292-9900.

If you’re musing when – and if – south Denver’s beloved Wilkerson’s Produce, 1995 S. Santa Fe Dr. will open this season, proprietor Curtis Wilkerson assures The Profile the market south of Overland Golf Course will open sometime in August, as it has each season since 1962, with the finest produce – especially fruit – Colorado has to offer. Info: 303-744-8419.

Colorado Fresh Markets, under the direction of Chris and Michele Burke, has organized several popular market locations, since 1997. Cherry Creek Fresh Market, in the Bed, Bath & Beyond parking lot at 1st Ave. and University Blvd. welcomes Saturday visitors, 8a.m.-1p.m., with a high-quality mix of nearly 100 Colorado growers and diverse local gourmet food vendors, chef demos, kitchen and garden products, gardening tips from master gardeners and live music. A smaller Wednesday market runs in the same spot, also 9a.m.-1p.m.

City Park Esplanade Fresh Market, in its 16th year, sets up along the Esplanade just west of East High at E. Colfax Ave. and Columbine St., Sundays, 9a.m.-1p.m. While not as expansive as the Cherry Creek event, the City Park Market offers a great selection of local growers along with a nice blend of fresh food vendors in an urban park setting.

The third of the Burkes’ Denver-area markets, Stapleton Fresh Market at 29th Ave. and Roslyn St., welcomes marketers on Sundays, 8:30a.m.-12:30p.m., bringing fresh produce, specialty food items, flowers and sundries to the ever-evolving neighborhood bearing the name of Denver’s airport predecessor to DIA.

Visit coloradofreshmarkets.com or call 303-442-1837 for info.

AND, if you’re a gardener and this year’s harvest has surpassed your own personal needs, share your surplus with  local food banks (see Odds & Ends, pg.  29 for details). Info: produceforpantries.com or call 855-855-4626.

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