More than just great produce
Some activities are synonymous with summer months such as camping, swimming pool fun, vacationing, roasting a gooey s’more around a campfire, catching a fish in a lake, or riding bikes amid the wildflowers and breathtaking Utah landscape. However, I have become a fond attendee of another local activity that I look forward to during my summer months here in Northern Utah. It includes attending the Ogden City Farmers Market on historic 25th Street.
The Ogden Downtown Alliance currently manages and organizes the farmers market. They state that, “The Ogden Downtown Alliance is committed to increasing economic vitality and community vibrancy through the Central Business District in Ogden. We are creating and promoting a dynamic epicenter for arts, entertainment and cultural experiences in Weber County through our place branding and destination marketing in conjunction with focused community programs and events.” The 25th Street Farmers Market certainly encompasses this vision.
What to Expect
Each Saturday from June to mid-September from 9am to 2pm shoppers can stroll among 200+ vendors as local food goods and artisans’ crafts are available for purchase. The market itself runs along 25th street from Wall to Washington. The street is closed for the market but there is plenty of parking on surrounding streets or in parking lots between 25th and 24th street. Don’t want to drive? Take advantage of the bicycle valet located at 25th Street and Grant Avenue, ride the train, or walk.
You will find a myriad of fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables. Some vendors are strictly organic if that’s what you’re seeking. Since I get my produce here each week, I arrive early to get the best choices as some vendors will run out of goods. Many vendors will offer free samples; you won’t regret it. You will absolutely love the ripe peaches and apricots! Also, there are some unusual finds such as fingerling potatoes, lemon spinach, microgreens, sweet yellow watermelons, a vendor who solely sells “all things garlic”, and another who offers a medley of mushrooms. Be adventurous and try something new. When my children were young, we would always seek out something unusual, take it home, prepare it, and consume it. They felt as if they were developing into true food critics.
If you’re not seeking fruits and veggies, the market offers locally roasted coffee and baked goods. Their aromatic combination is divine. Vosen’s Bread Paradise offers a variety of bread samples right out of the side of their truck. Their bakery goods are infused with herbs, cheese, garlic, and dried fruit. The German pastries are delectable and to die for.
What You’ll See and Hear
Now that you’re done shopping, perhaps you’d like to take a break and enjoy a yoga class in the park. She’s Dope Too offers yoga each Saturday at 9 am. Don’t be shy. All ages, levels, and shapes participate even if you can’t reach all those stretches. It’s the participation that is enjoyable.
Several dog rescue groups bring their playful pups in hopes of finding a forever home. Many people bring their leashed dogs along to revel in the market’s lively atmosphere. You may also see a couple who regularly strides along the main street with their pet goose riding in a stroller. They are always willing to share their story about their special friend.
Amid the barks and honks, you’ll also hear live music. Each week a local band is featured along the main drag. Chairs are set up for a relaxing spell. Sit back, close your eyes, and tap your foot to the beat. It is not unusual to see individual musicians positioned on a street corner or leaning up against a wall. One particular occasion I met a talented violinist who caught my eye. This 12 year old young man was dressed in overalls and donned a wool ivy-style hat. After I added a dollar to his collection tin, he tipped his hat and smiled. Turn the corner and you’ll be mesmerized by the humming and drumming sounds of a duet playing a didgeridoo and an upside down plastic bucket. If you want to compose your own music, find one of the several upright painted pianos and plink out your own tune. Anything goes!
One of our family favorites when visiting the Farmers Market is to see Ogden’s unique dancing police horse, Sundance, along with his owner Master Officer Ron Gardiner from the Ogden Police Department. Sundance is a strikingly beautiful buttermilk buckskin quarter horse that stands 15.3 hands and weighs 1200 lbs. On command, Sundance obeys a variety of tricks from kicking a soccer ball to dancing. Have you ever witnessed a horse smiling? Sundance loves to participate and entertain. Ron even passes out trading cards that feature facts and information about him and Sundance and their unique relationship.
Stop by Beehive Naturals for their light weight Summer Sunshine lotion. I like to give it to my guests who are visiting from out of state. Manufactured right in Plain City, they offer all things honey: lip balm, lotions, 100% raw honey, beard oils, soaps, and bath teas. Again, samples are plentiful.
Each year I find a humble, quaint beverage stand. They don’t have a sign posted but you’ll notice the extended line. It is long but so worth it on a hot day. They make individual orders of mint limeade that they learned to make while they lived in Brazil. You can watch each step as they concoct their special recipe from sugared water with mint leaves and freshly squeezed limes. Then they add their own special touch; they pour it all in a large mason jar and shake it vigorously. Poured over ice, it is fabulous and refreshing!
Acacia Tanner from Fanciful Face Painting is a true artist in her own right. Her artistry matches those found in European markets. Her face paintings are anything but ordinary. Any family member’s face can be a canvas for her creativity. There are plenty of displayed examples to choose from, or you can make your own individual request. She has an engaging personality so the experience is a true delight.
Regulars, One Timers, and Volunteer Efforts
Each week as you explore the Farmers Market you will notice subtle changes. Some craftsmen are there each week in the same spot. It’ll be easy to locate them next time you go. Hand-made pottery, spoon and fork jewelry, clothing, unique olive oils, candles, paintings, dainty succulents, wild flower bouquets, painted rock art, leather accessories, and hand carved woodwork art are available each Saturday. Free train rides along 25th are offered each week too. Ride along 25th street and offer your best pageant wave to the pedestrians.
Some events are there only once. Watch out! During the Ogden Pioneer Days festival a gang of rustlers, wranglers, and robbers are set to heist the loot from a stagecoach in a real-action, right-down-to-the-gunsmoke re-enactment on 25th Street. Also, stagecoach rides are given throughout the days’ events. Come see what life was like back in the days of the pioneers.
Milk a cow, cuddle a baby lamb, or hold some chickens during the week of the dairy display that sets up pens for young ones to get a farm-like hands on experience. Another farming experience is the tractor show that sets up their antique tractors and even offers rides to spectators. On another occasion, our family was entertained with a dog obstacle race. All breeds turned out as we cheered on our favorite. Our family still talks and reminisces about the dog races that day.
Many volunteer organizations set up a booth to teach the public about their cause in the community activity zones. For example, Intermountain Health Care provides a free teddy bear booth for children to learn about first aid. Each child goes to a station for instruction about taking care of his bear. They get a certificate and a healed bear to take home.
The farmer’s market is a great place to gather. Visiting is a fun family activity, and you can meet members of your community. Purchasing fruits and vegetables from the farmers market supports local family farms, giving them the valuable capital they need to keep operating and providing consumers an alternative to mass-produced foods. Enjoy the natural flavors of fresh fruits, vegetables, and baked goods. Take a Saturday stroll down 25th Street. Enjoy the heartbeat of the Ogden Farmers Market.