It’s summer time in Durango, which means the Durango Farmers Market is right around the corner.
For the first time, there will be a wine booth among the roughly 60 vendors at the market, which runs from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday mornings in the parking lot of First National Bank.
“We don’t want to decrease the family atmosphere at the market, but we’re all kind of curious to how this benefits our customers better and bring a new aspect to the market,” said Melanie McKinney-Gonzales, market manager of the farmers market. “Given that it’s local, it fits within our guidelines.”
The winery, Sutcliffe Vineyards of Cortez, will offer tastings and sale by the bottle, said Drea Firth, sales manager of Sutcliffe Vineyards.
The market is also increasing in space by expanding into the eastern portion of First National Bank’s parking lot.
“Hopefully, that’s going to give a little more access to some of our vendors who are wanting to expand their booth sizes,” McKinney-Gonzales said.
Increasing the physical size of the market will also allow for more information booths and add room for members of the market’s community sponsorship program.
The program allows businesses to intermittently host booths throughout the year at the market. Currently, 12 businesses are a part of the program.
Another unique feature of the Durango Farmers Market that is continuing from last year is Market Bucks. Market Bucks allow patrons without cash to write a check or swipe their credit or debit cards to purchase a currency that can be used throughout the market.
“It really increased people’s ability to get spendable cash for the market,” McKinney-Gonzales said. “It really helped out vendors and it really helped out a lot of people to have that accessibility.”
The farmers market also supports the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Any individual can use SNAP at the farmers market to buy grocery items. The state also funds a program called Double-Up Food Bucks. This allows SNAP users to get an extra $20 per market visit.
“For example, if someone came down with their SNAP card and ran it for $20, they would walk away from the info booth with $40 to spend,” McKinney-Gonzales said.
Last year, the farmers market requested $4,000 from LiveWell Colorado, the nonprofit that runs the statewide Double-Up Food Bucks program. This year, they requested $6,000.
The SNAP program and Double-Up Food Bucks generated around $10,000 for the market last year, McKinney-Gonzales said. “We anticipate being able to distribute all of those vouchers this summer,” she said.