Betting on the farm
New Montrose market-restaurant promotes West Slope agriculture
MONTROSE — There is something growing on Montrose’s Main Street that is wholesome, fresh and — best of all — local.
The Vine Market and Bistro opened last week at 347 Main St. and the buzz around town has already been significant.
For locals, it’s just another chapter in a century-old legacy of local agriculture and the Anders family.
Under the tin ceiling inside, coolers, shelves and various containers hold cheese from Olathe, apple cider from the North Fork Valley, meats from across Colorado and locally canned vegetables. Historic photos hung on the brick walls show family members working the earth since the early 1900s.
The market is designed to act as a “farm hub” to promote local growers by shelving and marketing their goods for a larger, centralized consumer audience.
“We provide the marketing and selling of a local farmed product so they (farmers) can focus more on farming themselves, versus trying to grow and sell their products at the same time,” owner Tyler Mize said.
Mize and his wife, Josie Anders-Mize, represent a young generation who wish to preserve and promote agriculture from across the Western Slope from their downtown location. Tyler is a Colorado transplant who grew up on a 200-acre eastern Tennessee tobacco and produce farm. Josie is the daughter of well-known Montrose farmer and merchant Mike Anders.
The pre-Thanksgiving opening offered a chance to sell winter squash, potatoes, onions and various other products from 25 to 30 small farms that dot the Western Slope from Rifle to Colony.
Noting that Colorado is a seasonal growing area, Mize said 60 percent of the market contains locally grown products.
He said the market also will serve as a bridge between Western Slope farms and local chefs who “don’t even know these farms and don’t know how to get in contact with them.”
If anything, the Vine is a tribute to the former Mike’s Market, a local market operated for years by Anders on Miami Road. What made Mike’s Market so unique was the effort to educate consumers on local foods and cooking methods. Anders taught classes all over town for years — his soups had cult followings and his macaroons were made daily — before he sold the market in the mid-2000s.
When the time was right, Anders passed along the family’s small plot on Miami Road to his daughters, Sara and Josie. Sara and her husband and local chef, Nick Rinne, and Mize and Anders-Mize, will continue to use their operation, La Familia Gardens, as an additional food provider.
Anders-Mize fondly remembers working in Mike’s Market with her sister.
“We grew up working in the market for my dad. He always had a positive reputation in the community,” Anders-Mize said. “I think it’s really exciting, I’m very proud of Tyler for all the work he has done in moving this forward. Tyler was sort of trusted to take over those relationships with restaurants in Telluride and all of my dad’s accounts … just makes me really proud of him.”
Anders-Mize said her father will continue to be involved in the market for his years of institutional knowledge of local agriculture.
“He’s definitely been a mentor to us and will continue to guide us,” Anders-Mize said.
Anders-Mize said the market will accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or SNAP, so low-income residents will have the option to explore and buy local ingredients.
“We want it to be a market for the entire community,” Anders-Mize said.
“A fine, affordable food market,” Mize said, adding the Vine will continue the educational legacy of Mike’s Market by educating shoppers on what products they are buying, and what farms they are buying from.
In addition to the market, a 38-seat restaurant will be located in the back portion of the building. The Bistro is a continuation of Rinne’s vision on Main Street. Rinne is moving from his current location on West Main Street into the Vine Market.
Rinne said The Bistro will continue a Mediterranean-style menu with a new breakfast menu. It will also serve lunch and “some early evening stuff like appetizers, sandwiches,” he said.
Rinne said by using produce from local farms, The Bistro will be able to use ingredients right from the display cases, which will help promote local farms while making his dishes better.
The Vine Market and Bistro is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The market will be closed on Mondays until the restaurant is open in mid-January.