Tess on the Town: First farmers market forecast bright

QUICKREAD

WHAT: American National Bank Farmers Market.

WHERE: Main Street, downtown Grand Junction.

WHEN: Thursday evenings, June 14 to Sept. 20.

CONTACT: Go to http://www.downtowngj.org or see weekly ads in The Daily Sentinel for a complete schedule of music and events.



The record-breaking temperatures so far this year aren’t going to be the only things scorching. The forecast for the sun-soaked crops in the Grand Valley is early and hot.

Vegetable and fruit crops are all coming in two to three weeks early, according to Kathy Dirks, marketing manager with the Downtown Development Association.

The American National Bank Farmers Market got a late start last year, but 2012 should be chock full of early bloomers, Dirks said.

Expect to see lettuce, spinach, peas, apricots, herbs, beef jerky, fresh breads, hand-pressed tortillas and cherries in the early weeks of the market. Yes, cherries already are ripe for the picking. “That doesn’t always happen,” Dirks said.

Later markets will include peaches, pears, apples, plums and nectarines. Then come corn, tomatoes, chiles, squash, cantaloupe and watermelon.

The market has 19 farmer vendors this year, not including the meat, flower, herb and specialty food booths. Organizers actually have a waiting list of vendors wanting to set up a stand at the market, but Main Street is only so long.

If you want to grab a bite of food or a glass of wine, downtown restaurants take advantage of the crowd with large patios and al fresco booths.

Also tempting are bakery goods, iced treats from Gelato Junction, Enstrom Candies’ candy and ice cream, chili vendors, Le Rouge crepes and the ever-popular green chile burritos.

What makes the GJ Farmers Market so much of a draw — an estimated 5,000 people visit every week — is that it’s an event, Dirks said.

Four music venues, food, farm bounty, hand-crafted goods and fun for the kids set it apart from other farmers markets, where people grab and go.

“It’s really grown to become quite a community gathering place,” Dirks said.

THE HOPPIEST TIME OF THE YEAR: The sixth edition of the Beer Drinker’s Guide to Colorado Map is hot off the press. At $15, it’s a nice little gift for the beer geek in the family.

Included with the map is a coupon book with $250 in free beer. The first edition identified 101 brewing operations in Colorado.

This year, the number is 168, with six in the Grand Valley: Kannah Creek Brewing Co., Breckenridge Ale House, Rockslide Brewpub, Palisade Brewing Co., Suds Brothers Brewery (Fruita) and Meadery of the Rockies (Palisade). Go to bdg2c.com for details.

PATE PROHIBITED: Beginning July 1, California will become the first state to ban foie gras.

In the meantime, high-end restaurants and gastronomes are loading up on the delicacy, paying as much as $60 a pound, double the already steep price for fatty duck liver pate, The Associated Press reported. Traveling dining services are holding sold-out, seven-course fois gras dinners to answer the frenzy, held in secret to avoid animal rights protesters.

The delicacy is created by force-feeding ducks through funnel-like tubes until their livers are 10 times normal size, sometimes to the point that they can’t walk and have trouble breathing. The process, called “gavage” has been outlawed in a dozen countries, including Israel, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland and Britain.

Regardless of how delicious foie gras is, two-legged animals at the top of the food chain have to draw the line somewhere between sating our appetite and allowing animals to suffer needlessly.

DAGWOOD SPECIAL: What’s your favorite sandwich in the Grand Valley and where is it served? Let me know at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

QUOTE: “Farmers are the only indispensable people on the face of the Earth.” — Li Zhaoxing, Chinese ambassador to the United States (1998)

Send ideas and comments to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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Grand Junction, CO 81501
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