Michelle Mooy found all the things she expected plus a couple of surpriseson the first day of the inaugural Winter Market at the Rio Grande Depot in downtown Salt Lake.
"We found extremely delicious pastries, cheese and hot chocolate, but the best part was the shots of vinegar and the art," the Salt Lake resident said while walking through the "Utah 2013: Mixed Media & Works on Paper" art gallery with Aaron Young from Grand Junction, Colo. "I live in Utah and I've never been in this building. It's kind of a treasure and I'm glad it's opening to the public in a way the public is going to use it."
The Downtown Alliance winter farmers market opened at 10 a.m. Saturday with plenty of familiar faces from the Downtown Farmers Market held at Pioneer Park a block away in the warmer months, both behind and in front of the tables.
But there were also new vendors and plenty of produce.
Janine Fellowsof Panguitch was on her way to a weekend in Salt Lake to attend Utah Symphony performances when she heard about the Winter Market on the radio and decided to check it out.
"I'm impressed. It's a good location and it's nice that they are still selling vegetables, which is really nice," said Fellows, who had a bag bulging with onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, basil and garlic.
The Winter Market at Rio Grande will be held every other Saturday through April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"A lot of customers [from the summer market] were asking us if we were going be here. Everybody has been talking about it; there has been a lot of buzz," said Jamie Gillmor with Morgan Valley Lamb. "It looks well attended. It's fun to see lot of good friends and customers after the Pioneer Park season."
Gillmor has been participating in the summer farmer's market since 2002 and he says it has been an important part of the business.
"The Downtown Alliance has been talking about a year-round market type of scenario the last few years. They did the 'pop up markets' last year and we didn't participate in those. I think this is a lot better," Gillmor said. "And having it every other week makes a lot of sense."
Gillmor's booth was outside the depot on the heated "portico".
First-time farmer's market vendor Bryce Thaxton of Vive Juicery was inside the Rio Grande Depot on the second level.
Aside from have some wifi connectivity issues to use a credit-card reader, Thaxton was thrilled with the first-day response to his raw, organic and local drinks: Autumn Spice (with the likes of carmel, apple, broccoli, spinach and ginger); Cucumber Cooler; Fiesta, Local Love (beet, apple, carrot, chard, lemon and ginger).
"We just opened two months ago so this is a good way to get the word out," Thaxton said between serving thirsty customers.
Nick Como with the Downtown Alliance said there were a few kinks to work out Saturday morning, but that the response from the more than 50 vendors and the public was going well.
"What a great use for this building; for the market and for the public," Como said. "This will help put the Rio Grande Depot back on the map as people acquaint themselves with it through the market. There is so much history here and this is a great connection to that past."
History • The Rio Grande Depot serves as home for the Utah Division of State History Research Center. The center is not usually open on Saturday but will be staffed during the Winter Market through December to serve curious visitors.
"We don't usually see this many people in the building," said Doug Misner, Library and Collections Coordinator for Utah State Archives and Utah State History. "It is nice to see everybody come and enjoy the building."
For those not familiar with the center, Misner invites the public to pick up their favorite jam, special cupcakes or that compost system they have been wanting and then visit himfor a walk through history.
"We help people access our collections to look at photographs and books," he said. "They use our resources to learn about Utah history, find a cool photograph or see who was living in their home in 1930."
For Mooy, the market provides a nice option when making plan on winter weekends. She is glad to know the Downtown Alliance is working on a more permanent plan for a winter farmer's market.
"I moved here from Virginia and the market was year-round there," Mooy said. "I'm really enthusiastic about this winter market. I think this is just what Salt Lake needed."