If you forget to take a reusable bag to the Downtown Farmers Market, it will cost you.
Organizers of the state’s premier summer market — which kicks off its 28th season this Saturday — have decided to stop giving away bags to forgetful shoppers.
“We’re trying to change behaviors,” said market manager Alison Einerson. And the best way to to that, she added with a tinge of sarcasm, “is to invite people to pay.”
Farmers will sell reusable bags for $1 — they’ll make a 50 cent profit on each one, said Einerson. Other vendors will have bags, too. But they likely will cost more.
The market continues every Saturday through October from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pioneer Park, 300 South and 300 West. This year it will feature some 200 food producers and vendors — many who have been selling for two decades — and nearly 100 artists and crafters.
Here are six other things to expect at the 2019 event:
Weather makes it green • While most people have tired of Utah’s rainy weather, they might appreciate it more once they see the abundance of greens, which thrive in cool, wet temperatures. Lettuces, kale, herbs and other leafy vegetables “will be in full force” Saturday, Einerson said. There should also be plenty of spring fruit from berries and apricots to plums. On the flip side — tomatoes and peppers may arrive later than usual.
Legal cannabis debuts • Pure Mystics of Salt Lake City will be the first vendor to sell legal cannabis — aka CBD — products. Their items include natural and flavored tinctures, gels and topicals made from a special strain of organically grown hemp. Look for them on the east side of the park near 300 West.
Shipping container grower • Reed Snyderman grows leafy greens in shipping containers. The founder of Ascent Farms uses a vertical, hydroponic system — think water, no soil — to grow kale, arugula, wasabi and more. These “living lettuces” still have their roots attached and stay fresher longer, said Snyderman, one of five new farmers at the Downtown Market. In all, 50 growers will be selling fresh, Utah-grown vegetables and fruits.
Construction is done, really! • Salt Lake City’s face-lift of Pioneer Park is complete, but the fencing on the south side will remain until August to protect the new grass and trees, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski said Wednesday during a news conference promoting the market. The nearly $1 million project includes a new soccer field, with lights and a concrete path. The market was able to work around the construction in 2018 by creating a smaller, triangle-shaped area for food vendors. That configuration will remain this year.
We eat Swahili • Those who follow Salt Lake City’s Spice Kitchen Incubator may already be familiar with Namash Swahili Cuisine and its hand-wrapped samosas, chapati bread, chicken curry and coconut beans. It’s one of five new food vendors at this year’s market. Others include: Dapper Dogs, handcrafted hot dogs with cosmopolitan toppings; Dominique European Deli, baguette-style sandwiches with European fillings such as smoked salmon and dill or brie and arugula; Kuya Del, another Spice Kitchen business that serves foods from Asia, the Pacific Islands and Mexico; and Royal Dosa, which specializes in the foods of India.
Waste not • The market will continue its push to be a zero-waste event. Once again, there will be no plastic bottles sold, Einerson said. This year, Wasteless Solutions will be collecting and transporting still-edible produce and food products to the hungry. Food that no longer can be donated will be hauled to Wasatch Resource Recovery’s new digester. The North Salt Lake facility turns food waste into natural gas and fertilizer.