October 16, 2013

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Downtown Alliance Announces Winter Farmers Market

Heather Stewart

October 16, 2013

The popular Downtown Farmers Market is wrapping up this weekend, but the opportunity to buy local food and crafts will continue throughout the winter. A new Winter Farmers Market will be held in the Rio Grande Depot, beginning on Nov. 9 and continuing every other Saturday.

“Just as in the summer market, you’ll be able to come here and buy an amazing variety of produce, meat, bread, baked goods [and] jam from about 50 vendors from all over the state,” said Alison Einerson, manager of the Winter Farmers Market. “We’ll also have some of the best food trucks in town.”

“The fabulous energy that comes from the influx of people to our city around the region really transforms Pioneer Park every Saturday during the market season, and we look forward to bringing this same kind of energy to the Rio Grande Depot area,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.

Last year, the Downtown Alliance held “pop-up” winter markets once a month at various locations in the city. This year’s Winter Market is the next step in an evolution that city leaders envision will lead to a daily, year-round, permanent public market.

Kim Angeli, director of the Downtown Farmers Market, said the Winter Farmers Market at the Rio Grande Depot is just a “temporary and intermediate step” as the city and the Downtown Alliance work to create the permanent public market. A permanent market would provide a stable venue for local food growers and artisans, and it would become another hotspot for tourists and residents alike, bringing thousands of people into the west side of the city every day.

Angeli said the permanent public market would bring together the various elements in the Rio Grande Depot area—linking existing businesses, Pioneer Park, the Rio Grande Depot, the Intermodal Hub and the public market into a vibrant, integrated district.

“We really picture Caputos and Aquarius Fish and that area being a part of this market district, integrating this part of the city as the foodie district or the market district—very walkable, very transit oriented,” she said. “Once we start filling in those pieces, we’ll have something that will be a really great asset to the city.”

This year’s Winter Market at the Rio Grande Depot is the result of a partnership between the Downtown Alliance, Salt Lake City and the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts, the state agency that operates the Rio Grande Depot. The building is home to the Utah History Research Center and an art gallery, as well as the Rio Grande Café.

Julie Fisher, executive director of the Department of Heritage and Arts, said the Winter Farmers Market will expose more Utahns to the historical resources at the Rio Grande Depot and to the art gallery, which displays work from local artists.

“The Rio Grande Depot is a historic and architectural gem of Salt Lake City, and through the Winter Market, more people will be able to come to this place, this amazing building, and experience what the Department of Heritage and Art has to offer,” Fisher said.

Vendors are also pleased with the opportunity to continue selling to the public throughout the winter. Julie Clifford of Clifford Family Farms said, “This gives me an opportunity to expand my business, to keep my business going—I don’t have to kind of gear down for the season and then gear up for the season.”

Clifford Family Farms raises chickens and livestock, and it will offer meats, eggs, honey and other products during the winter.

“I don’t think that a lot of people understand the diversity that will be able to be maintained through the market through the winter,” Clifford said, noting that many food growers operate greenhouses during the winter.

The Rio Grande Depot is located on 500 West and 300 South, one block south of The Gateway and one block west of Pioneer Park. The Winter Farmers Market will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every other Saturday, starting on Nov. 9.


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