040721-cr-crummett

Pat Hill/Pikes Peak Courier

Judy Crummett and Paddy, the Colorado Mountain dog, are heading out this summer to live near the sea in England.

In a life filled with curiosity and adventure, Judy Crummett is embarking on another journey this summer.

Founder of and philosophical icon behind the Woodland Park Farmers Market, Crummett is moving on after 30 years of leading the nonprofit organization.

Before packing up for England, Crummett took time to reminisce about those long-ago days. “I come from a market town in England and it was something that I missed,” she said.

She credits friends who sold La Baguette breads at the Old Colorado City market for planting the idea.

She hit an obstacle, however, when the director of the Colorado State Extension office gave the idea a thumbs down, said there were no farmers in Woodland Park. “I know; that’s why I’d like to bring some in,” she said at the time.

In the end, the director, the late Jim Carey, gave her $100 to print flyers and make phone calls. Advised to get the best people involved, Crummett zeroed in on Lois and Glenn Sill.

“At that time, they knew everybody in town,” Crummett said. “Lois retired a few years ago from the board but she was wonderful.”

To help with securing nonprofit status for the market, she tapped Ray Sponberger, a board director.

“He was also a terrific gardener who grew the biggest cabbages,” she said. “In the beginning we had a little co-op for local gardeners who wanted to sell any surplus they could.”

That first market in June and July of 1991 featured six vendors who sold fruits, vegetables, bread and honey.

Rather than compete with area Saturday markets, Crummett chose Friday, a day that eventually attracted people from around the Pikes Peak Region. “People said they were so glad we were here,” she said.

As the market grew in popularity, parking became a problem at the initial location in Lions Park, necessitating a move. The current location in Memorial Park offers plenty of parking near the market.

When the coronavirus pandemic circled the globe in 2020, Crummett fought to keep the market open during the summer. With masks, social distancing and fewer booths, the market was a vital resource. “Our customers said it felt healthier to do their shopping here than at the grocery store,” she said.

In fact, the city requested that the board extend the season. “They realized it was a great thing for the city,” Crummett said.

Crummett leaves a legacy of service to her community. Widow of Lance Crummett, former chief of the Four Mile and Fire Protection District, she contributed her skills as a nurse to the emergency services side of the district.

The Crummetts met and married in Saudi Arabia, where she worked as a nurse and he was in the U.S. Army.

After retiring and traveling around the country, they moved to Four Mile.

“We built our house ourselves,” she said. “We not only survived in Colorado but found our place and, hopefully, helped improve the community.”

With all the details about moving from one country to another, Crummett plans to bid farewell at the first farmers market June. 4.

“In England, I’m going to find a little cottage in the country,” she said. “And, hopefully, get some time to do some art and basket weaving.”

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