Farmers market

Melanie Audet picks up raw milk at the Colorado Art and Farm Market.

Farmers markets have cautiously opened, following health department guidelines, and many of the longtime favorites are back. But there’s also a new kid in the area this year: the Backyard Market in Black Forest.

Attempts to get a market in the Black Forest area have been made in previous years, but it took the well-organized Black Forest Community Club to get the job done. And from the number of vendors selling their goods on a recent Saturday – 45 of them – it’s getting good support. During my visit, I could sense a happy vibe from the many shoppers and sellers, several of whom said they were doing a brisk business.

The market is at 12530 Black Forest Road, and runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday. Market managers Elba Barr and Theda Stone greet customers at the entrance and manage the number of shoppers circulating inside the market. Mask-wearing is required. Most vendors are set up for credit card payment. Handicap parking is provided inside the gated area, and other parking is available along Black Forest Road. Visit the bfbackyardfarmersmarket.com to shop online.

Here are some of the vendors I either bought from or visited. Following that is an updated list of area markets that are open for the season.

• Megan’s Gourmet Mushrooms: This is my new favorite market vendor. Owner Megan Deaton brought a collection of ‘shrooms from her farm in Rocky Ford, and I couldn’t resist buying a box containing a mixture of them.

• Emerge Aquaponics: I’ve become a fan of the head and leaf lettuce grown and sold in these Black Forest greenhouses. I had already purchased lettuce the day before at their curbside market. The farm’s owner was hit hard when his main source of business, restaurants, were shut down in March. To deplete his supply of greens, owner Josh Imhoff advertised free lettuce on Fridays via Facebook. He and a group of volunteers would give each car that stopped by two bags of lettuce: one for the driver and one to be given to someone who needed fresh food.

“I’m a farmer,” Imhoff said the first time I visited his place. “I can’t just stop production and then start it back up the next day. I harvest 2,500 heads of lettuce a week. This is a way to help others and help us too.”

Now that restaurants are back, he has started selling bags of lettuce for $7. There are usually two three heads in each bag. You can find it at a few farmers markets and at Ranch Foods Direct. Or you can sign up at his website and order by Thursdays for pickup on Fridays. Visit emergeaquaponics.com.

• Garza Farm: This Peyton farm, which also sells whole and half hogs, brought its homemade pickles to the market. There were dozens of quart jars, which go for $8, that held bread and butter, dill, beans and asparagus pickles — either regular or spicy. I picked up a jar of Cowboy Candy, and I’m hooked. Fiery jalapenos are packed in a signature bread and butter brine. The sweet marinade has a hint of onion and bell pepper, flavors that tame the jalapeno heat, delivering a condiment that will be a fixture on my table from here on out. Visit garzafarm.com.

• Sweets and Treats: Owner Becky Mize sells homemade baked goods and gluten-free options. I picked up a bag of vanilla French macaroons, $3 for two sweet treats. The former pastry chef at The Antlers, she started her business after the hotel closed its food service in March. She was doing a brisk business at the market. Visit beckyssweetsandtreats.com.

Contact the writer: 636-0271.

contact the writer: 636-0271.

Food editor

Food writer for features life section and columnist for Go! Entertainment - Table Talk column

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