Berthoud Local plants seeds for farmers’ market

By Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer
The Surveyor

It’s already been a long, hot summer for the group that’s been working to get the Berthoud farmers’ market off the ground this year.

Berthoud Local is a grassroots nonprofit whose members originally came together to work on the Wagner Farm Park Project. Currently, the group is working on a handful of small projects with an aim to support local food. One of its ventures is the Pioneer Park Community Garden that it operates in partnership with the Town of Berthoud. The group also plans to host two farm-to-table dinners later this year.

“We are trying to encourage awareness about food that’s produced locally and food that’s prepared locally. We felt like it was a natural fit for us to jump in and take on the farmers’ market project,” said Tracey Long, co-president of Berthoud Local. “Part of our mission is to re-vitalize ‘The Garden Spot.’”

The group stepped up to run the Berthoud farmers’ market this summer after the Berthoud Area Chamber of Commerce decided that it wasn’t feasible to operate the venture this year.

“As a chamber, we needed insurance to cover the market, as with any event we sponsor. With charging only $5 per vendor, per day, it was a losing proposition for us,” explained Deanne Mulvihill, director of the Berthoud Chamber of Commerce.

“We are excited that a group of volunteers got together to undertake this project,” Mulvihill added. “We hope the community will support them.”

According to Long, there was also some miscommunication about the municipal fees associated with running the market in town, which postponed the market’s opening. Feeling that it was cost prohibitive, the market organizers looked for a site outside of Berthoud. The Masonic Temple, on the border of Campion and Berthoud, offered the use of their property free of charge, but when the citizens of Berthoud learned that the market wasn’t being held in town, they rallied to bring it back to town.

“A lot of people worked hard to make this happen,” said Long.

Longs said that the Town of Berthoud administration eventually reviewed town policies and the miscommunication was cleared up. Then, the town began suggesting locations for the market.

“We are happy they have found a site in Berthoud that will work for them, and have offered to assist them in whatever way we can to help the effort be a successful one,” said Mike Hart, town administrator for the Town of Berthoud. “We fully support their efforts.”

The group narrowed the list to two possible sites: the Berthoud commercial Commons site, between the car wash and Main Street Car Care on Mountain Avenue, and the Adams Bank space at the northwest corner of Mountain Avenue and County Road 17.

Both property owners were more than willing to allow the market to be on their land, says Long, but logistics resulted in Berthoud Local choosing the Adams Bank site.

And to revitalize the market, Berthoud Local changed the market’s name to Berthoud Farmers & Fleas Tailgate Market.

“We’ve named it this because we are opening this market to anyone who wants to drive in with a pickup and sell items,” said Long. “Whether they have garage sale items or if they have a craft, like woodworking, they literally can pull up to our market, put the tailgate down and start selling.”

Berthoud Farmers & Fleas Tailgate Market has two soft openings scheduled for Saturday, July 19 and July 26, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1201 Lake Ave. The official grand opening will be held on Aug. 2. The grand opening is themed Children’s Day. Sun Pony Ranch will offer free pony rides and there will be face painting, balloon animals, and a gardening workshop for children.

“That’s an example of one of our theme days,” said Long. “We also plan to have a Peach Pie Day featuring pies made by Darlene Helsel. Another theme will be Fiber Day. We’ll have alpacas and people demonstrating the fiber arts.

“We’re also looking at the possibility of adding musical entertainment at some point.”

One of the vegetable vendors committed to the market is Big Willy’s Farm from Campion. They will bring organic greenhouse-grown tomatoes and cucumbers to Berthoud Farmers & Fleas Tailgate Market.

“No one even has cucumbers or tomatoes yet, so to have greenhouse hydroponically-grown produce coming in for the opening day of the market is really exciting,” said Long.

To cover the $800 of liability insurance needed to operate the market, Berthoud Local is asking for businesses and individuals to sponsor the market. Contact tracey.long27@comcast.net for more information on how to help. Also, join Berthoud Local online at BerthoudLocal.org and on Facebook at Facebook.com/berthoudlocal.