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The Boulder County Farmers Markets are different than the grocery store because customers can meet and talk with the farmer who grew the food. (Boulder County Farmers Markets — Courtesy Photo)
The Boulder County Farmers Markets are different than the grocery store because customers can meet and talk with the farmer who grew the food. (Boulder County Farmers Markets — Courtesy Photo)
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By Boulder County Farmers Market

This week, the second week of August, is National Farmers Market Week. This annual celebration is organized by the Farmers Market Coalition to honor all the value farmers markets bring to local communities.

Here in Boulder County, we are celebrating extra for our hometown harvest heroes.

All year long, we relish achieving our mission at BCFM: bringing people together and increasing access to fresh local food. Our weekly markets showcase the best produce, pantry staples, prepared specialties and people in the region. Markets are amazing places, and we never forget the entire reason for the season: local farmers.

BCFM is  invested in farmers. Our farmers are invested in growing the highest quality food possible for our community here in Colorado — rain, shine, graupel and otherwise.

Farming here is a labor of love: The hours are long, the grasshoppers are plentiful, and your work is truly never done. Profit margins are slim, and the sunburns are rough. Perhaps the most difficult of all is all the uncontrollables. The best-laid plans (and best-laid rows of crops) are no match for that microburst or freeze.

All Boulder County Farmers Markets farmers, like Calvin Bailey, take time to connect with customers and offer advice about how to prepare various vegetables. (Kirsten Boyer ??

Our friends at Stubborn Roots in Fort Collins just lost half of their farm to flood and root rot last week. But according to owners Calvin and Bradi Bailey, they “go in every year knowing that farming is always a gamble, and no matter how much time you spend to make it perfect, Mother Nature has the wheel.” They are pivoting to focus on their remaining crops. If that isn’t resiliency and determination, we don’t know what is.

The wonderful folks of Morton’s Organic Orchards know that “a large part of growing fruit in Colorado is having to fight off spring freezes that can easily kill blossoms and impact crop production.”

But year after year, they choose to celebrate the hard work that goes into creating each perfect peach and to be grateful for each bite.

After long days in fields and the wash stations, our farmers choose to spend their weekends with us at markets. They drive, sometimes for hours, to set up shop in our neighborhoods so we can stroll through the most vibrant collection of produce and take our pick.

Boulder County Farmers Markets farmers work long hours and experience immense uncertainty, but like this family farmer from Morton's Organic Orchards they still show up to every market with huge smiles. (Boulder County Farmers Markets ??

They are kind and patient and don’t laugh when the inevitable happens: Someone confuses Swiss chard for rhubarb and the 89th person asks what they could possibly do with kohlrabi. They remember your names and give our staff snacks. They build the community of the market every single season.

So to all our local farmers, thank you. Thank you for working so hard to make something so important and delicious. Thank you for caring for our soil and our planet. Thank you for sticking with one of the most exhausting and uncertain careers. Thank you for the sweaty backs and cracked hands that literally feed our families. Thank you during National Farmers Market Week and the other 32 market weeks.

Boulder County Farmers Markets was started by a group of passionate local farmers in the mid-1980s. Our founding farmers came together as a community and a few tables of produce loaded off the backs of pickup trucks.

That handful of inspired farmers has grown over the last 35 years to include more than 150 local producers and vendors, three bustling in-person markets and one year-round online local marketplace and the longest market season in the state of Colorado. That’s a lot of weeks and months and years to appreciate.

Come celebrate farmers with us at a market near you, in Boulder on Wednesday and Boulder or Longmont on Saturday. Tell our farmers that you love them, because we sure do.

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