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Bayfield’s newest farmers market takes grassroots approach

La Plata County artisans, farmers bring homemade items
Chris Biggie, left, president of the Bayfield Farmers Market, sells produce from area farmers to Lilly and Chip Burkett on Saturday during the Bayfield Farmers Market & Crafts north of Bayfield on County Road 501. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Residents in eastern La Plata County have come together to form a new farmers market in Bayfield, hoping to connect locals and visitors with homemade fare.

From 8:30 to noon Saturdays, the Pine Valley Church parking lot at 1328 County Road 501 is filled with music, food trucks, fresh food and crafts from La Plata County vendors. The Bayfield Farmers Market & Crafts aims to fill in a gap left by two markets that dissolved in the past two years.

“It was a big group of local folks that wanted to put together a market for locals in the surrounding Bayfield area,” said Suzanna Schroeder, a board member for the market. “There wasn’t an active farmers market and we saw the need in the community.”

Suzanna Schroeder, a board member with the Bayfield Farmers Market, holds a flyer for the market on Saturday. Schroeder said the market is a grassroots effort to increase access to fresh, local goods in eastern La Plata County. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

In 2019, a downtown farmers market cropped up for one summer before dissolving because of a lack of vendors. The 30-year-old market off U.S. Highway 160 did not reopen in 2020 because of licensing issues for vendors.

The new Bayfield Farmers Market & Crafts launched June 19 with a burst of tourists and visitors from Pine River Valley communities, such as Vallecito and Forest Lakes. It features about 30 to 40 vendors, local farmers and artisans who sell their homegrown and homemade goods.

“A lot of people were really happy to see it in the area and that there’s been an ongoing need for something like this that people have been wanting,” Schroeder said. “People were happy to see we were making this happen.”

More than 30 vendors sell their wares Saturday during the Bayfield Farmers Market just north of Bayfield on County Road 501. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

This season, the board and volunteers hope to continue their weekly market until October, depending on the weather, she said.

“It depends on snow and water, how long we can stay afloat with the drought and all that,” Schroeder said.

Many farmers and ranchers in the Southwest are facing a challenging irrigation year as the region experiences extreme and exceptional drought conditions.

For vendors, the market is a weekly opportunity to sell their produce, meats and crafts, and spread the word about their business.

“I’m a farmer. We have a local farm and thought it would be a good way to get information out about our farm and just to be part of the community,” said Schroeder, co-owner of Heritage Hill Farm near Elmore’s Corner in La Plata County.

Laura Macy, left, and her daughter, Julia Munoz, sell homemade sun catchers, sun charms, magnetic bud vases and earrings Saturday during the Bayfield Farmers Market. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Andi and Gibby Gorman, both hobbyist artisans and first-time vendors at a farmers market, had a stand at the first two markets of the season. Andi Gorman sells pottery, while Gibby sells woodworking items, like birdfeeders.

“I think it gives the local artisans a great opportunity to sell their crafts,” said Andi Gorman, a Vallecito resident and volunteer with the market. “For the community, I think it’s a great opportunity to meet other locals and support local businesses. ... It’s a sense of community.”

“Even if people don’t buy things they’re very appreciative of the work you’ve put in to create the product,” Gibby Gorman said. “That satisfaction for the work you put in is nice – if they buy something that also helps.”

smullane@durangoherald.com

Uncle Kelsey sings as Susan Banes plays the cajon Saturday during the Bayfield Farmers Market. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)
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