The Provo Farmers Market cornucopia is flowing full this season with fresh local goods downtown at Pioneer Park. Farmers and gardeners from around the county are bringing in the seasons work to share with the fresh produce seeking consumer. Locals can browse the craft tables while having breakfast from one of the vendors. And of course there is the bread truck filled with dozens of breads and pastries baked that morning. The majority of produce will be at the North end of the park where you can wander between fresh peaches, pears, crisp apples, and plums. All locally grown, most vendors have orchards or large gardens and plots of land where they expertly grow food. Students can come and find tasty samples and for less than 10 dollars go home with a bag full of food. Kathryn Allen, the market manager, says, “Students need to get down here! We have so much fresh produce available.” Buying fresh means it was literally picked that morning, some farmers even get up at 4 am to fill their trucks with their produce.
Though the price varies from vendor to vendor, most will sell home grown onions, tomatoes, etc. for a few cents a pound or a rounded amount for each one. As for fruit, consumers can get a bag of peaches, apples or plums for about 5 dollars a bag. Apples last longer, but peaches and plums need to be eaten soon. In a week or so there will be cider available from seconds (apples that fall to the ground). Scrubbed and juiced, vendors don’t waste the bounty and create spicy and sweet drinks to be savored. Consumers can also buy seconds at a lower price than the picked variety to make their own ciders and bottled goodies for the coming holiday season. Most produce can be bottled and preserved in some fashion, but unless consumers are willing to take the time and bottle the excess, it may go to waste. Though eating fresh is great for local economies, it can be wonderful for the body and soul to know where the food came from and buy directly from the source. Knowing the person who picked the food that is being bought is, unfortunately, a novelty. Some students comment on the lack of community in a university town, but one may argue that the farmers market is one of the most diverse hangouts in Utah County for all types of people, from all walks of life. The market has grown in the past years from a small group in a parking lot to taking up half of Pioneer Park. Although a good percentage is crafts, there are plenty of food vendors to fill in the cracks.
If locals can’t make it on Saturdays, Provo has started “Fresh Wednesdays” behind the Communal Restaurant on 100 North and University Ave in Provo. That small market is produce and food vendors only, no crafts. The market runs from 5-8 p.m. until the end of October. Many of the same vendors from the farmers market are there with freshly picked produce that can go from the garden to the table in less than a few hours. For students who don’t always have access to gardens and don’t have the time or know-how to properly grow food, these markets can provide supplemental food, fresh herbs and all around well-being. October is the last month that both markets are running, so be sure to check it out.