Woodland Park farmers market offered a preview of what to expect at seasonal markets

Megan Deaton, owner of Megan’s Mushrooms, sells her gourmet mushrooms at area farmers markets.

The Woodland Park Farmers Market opened May 16, kicking off a market season that we already know will look vastly different from those in the past. To get an idea of the precautions put in place to keep folks safe, we visited this “drive-through” market.

It had opened at 9 a.m., but when we got there at 10:30 a.m., there were just a dozen or so shoppers. As instructed, we all wore masks and maintained 6-foot distancing if we wanted to get out of our cars and walk around the market.

With little socializing going on, the atmosphere was less festival-like and more no-nonsense. Most of the customers had heeded advice to preorder for curbside pickup or to get in line at booths for ordered items. Vendors had orders ready to go, and most customers paid by credit/debit cards, avoiding hand-to-hand transactions.

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Even with the somewhat stilted, cautious atmosphere, it was a delight to see the familiar faces of farmers and food producers who have been selling their goods at local markets for years. And, as usual, there were some new faces I will be keeping an eye out for at future markets.

Here’s a look at some of my favorites, both old and new.

• Gold Camp Bakery: This has been one of my regular stops at the Colorado Art and Farm Market on Saturdays at The Margarita at Pine Creek. It seems like I’ve watched owner Ralf Bock’s five children grow up over the many summers they have traveled from Victor to sell the bakery’s fabulous German desserts, breads, cookies, pies and pastries. My favorite is the decadent Bee Sting cake, which they had at the Woodland Park market. For me, this is the quintessential first taste of farmers market season. Visit goldcampbakery.com.

• Azteca Gourmet Tamales: Seeing owner Lorena Martinez-Jakubczak bundled up in a blanket on a lawn chair, trying to chase off the morning chill, was a welcome sight. I love her Oaxaca-style tamales, made even more delicious with her special salsas. She offers savory and sweet tamales, and her tasty treats are gluten-, GMO-, lard- and preservative-free. She makes them with locally grown ingredients, organic corn flour, fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, seasonings and healthy fat-free oils. Visit aztecagourmet.com.

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• Megan’s Mushrooms: Megan Deaton had a passion for eating nutritious, healthy food. When she discovered gourmet mushrooms, and that they are considered a superfood, she started growing her own. That was in 2017, and she began her experiment with oyster mushrooms. She said they have become her favorite addition to almost any meal. Next, she learned to grow lion’s mane and then trumpet mushrooms, both of which are the most beautiful and scrumptious things I’ve tasted in a long time. Track down this vendor at the markets — it’s worth the effort. Visit megansmushrooms.com.

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• The Cheese People of Colorado Springs: Why hasn’t this company caught my attention before? The line of customers waiting for preordered cheese was a sign that I had almost missed the bus. But I’m on board now. Co-owners Bleys and Lynn Kueck operate this local franchise of a Chicago- based company. They are purveyors of artisanal cheeses from small farms and co-ops throughout Wisconsin. The cheeses were all unique in flavor and texture. Based on recommendations from their regular customers in line, we bought some applewood-smoked string cheese. The regulars were right. The smoky cheese is now a favorite at our home. For sure, this is another good seller to seek out — and it won’t be that hard to find them since they will be selling at several area markets. And they will deliver to your home. Preorder at their website, thecheese peoplecolorado.square.site.

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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