The winter farmers market at the Four Seasons Greenhouse in Dolores continues to grow in its fifth year.
Open on Saturdays from November through March, the market features vendors from farms and ranches in Montezuma County, who sell fresh produce, meat and other products in one of the greenhouse’s indoor display areas. It started the new year on Saturday with about 34 vendors, Four Seasons owner Vic Vanik said, including several newcomers and some growers who have participated in the market since the beginning. Vanik said the winter market has made his business more successful.
“Our greenhouses, seven or eight years ago, they would have been completely empty this time of year,” he said. “Virtually all our greenhouses are being used now, during winter time, to grow food.”
He said the market has been crowded every week this season. When it opened at 10 a.m. on Saturday, the greenhouse’s parking lot was already filling up with customers’ cars.
Several other vendors also said the market has helped them to be more successful this winter. John Buck, a Montezuma County rancher who joined the market for the first time this year, said it has helped him expand his customer base. He recently started selling packaged meat at farmers markets, and he said Four Seasons is the only local one he’s found that stays open all winter.
“It’s expanded my market quite a bit,” he said.
Vanik said the greenhouse staff tries to keep the market focused on fresh produce as much as possible, but several craft and clothing vendors also participate.
On Saturday, booths selling fudge, jewelry and winter coats could be found alongside those selling lettuce, meat and eggs.
Kendra and Andrew Schafer, also newcomers to the market, said they have found plenty of buyers for their dyed wool as well as their main products, mutton and beef.
Cecilia Berto, owner of Berto Farm, has been coming to the market ever since it started. She said it helps her business keep its momentum during the winter season, which can be slow for small farmers.
“I think it just keeps the farming community and the artistic community going nonstop,” she said. “Plus, it’s a social activity on a Saturday.”
She said she has enjoyed seeing the market grow over the past five years.
Vendors at the winter market can sign up for a permanent booth at the beginning of the year, or get a temporary booth for a week or two anytime during the season. Customers can order products in advance or buy them upfront during the market’s business hours.
The market will remain open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through March 10.