By Renae Counter, Explorebigsky.com Editorial Assistant
Bogert Farmers’ Market
BOZEMAN – Now that summer has finally made it to Gallatin County, so has the staple summer farmers’ markets, and there is no shortage this year. Across Montana it’s possible to find a market almost any day of the week, and you can be sure they’ll have just what you’re looking for. Local, fresh produce, baked goods, jewelry, crafts, and activities for the kids—Montana famers’ markets have it covered.
If you happen to be passing through Bozeman on a Tuesday evening, don’t pass up the chance to stop at the Bogert Farmers’ Market in Bogert Park. This 100-plus vendor market is tucked conveniently under a large pavilion so it can withstand Montana summer rain (and snow) storms—just be prepared to walk a few blocks after parking, because the market fills up fast.
Salal Huber-McGee, Bogert’s Market Director, started the market 10 years ago. She said she’s loved watching it evolve. “We have a lot of really great things going for us: We’re in a great location, we have a ton of community support and a good mission statement.”
That mission is simple, yet effective: Promote, Preserve and Play.
As you stroll through the market you may recognize some vendors from their local storefronts and find that others are completely new. The market offers a platform for new businesses to start and grow, and for developed businesses to return and share with the community.
“The market is a really good platform for local business to try out,” Huber-McGee said. “The booths are very affordable, and it’s a good way to promote local interest.”
Kristin Fletcher, a Bozeman jewelry maker, has had a booth at Bogert every year. Along with beaded jewelry, Fletcher also makes an arrangement of metalsmith jewelry like rings and bracelets.
“I like this market because of the local feel,” Fletcher said. “This is the market that locals continue to support. You see a lot of the same faces every Tuesday.”
If it’s produce and vegetables you’re looking for, Bogert has a wide selection from local farms. Crazy View Farm from Wilsall offers a selection of fresh greens for salads and cooking. Laurie Sargent, owner operator of Crazy View, has been a vendor at Bogert for four years.
“I love seeing the people we’re growing food for,” Sargent said.
Crazy View Farm is an organic farm that operates through the volunteer program WWOFF, which places eight volunteers on the farm each season.
WWOOF volunteer Becca is from Minnesota and has been in Montana for two weeks, volunteering at Crazy View. She said she’s loved Montana for the people, mountains and “seeing how a farm acts within a community.”
Along with Crazy View, you can also find Three Fiddles Farm, Organic Valley Farms, Gallatin Valley Botanical and Three Hearts Farm.
If it’s a cooked meal you’re looking for, Bogert also has that covered. From fresh made crepes, gyros, tacos and more, the market has something for everyone in the family to enjoy.
The Hungry Mexican is known for its famous salsa and fish tacos, said owner Ken Reynolds. He and wife Sharon have been “bringing it” with their homemade salsa for the past three years.
“Sharon has been making salsa for years,” Reynolds said. “After I got laid off I came on board. It has allowed us to chase our dreams.”
The Reynolds started out at the Big Sky Farmers’ Market, where their tasty Mexican salsa quickly became a hit. They have since moved to Bozeman but will return to Big Sky’s market this year.
“Our fish tacos are famous up there,” Reynolds said.
Bogert strives to be a gathering place. It’s an “easy way for people to hang with their families and friends in a good location,” Huber-McGee said.
Along with a park full of swings, jungle gyms, basketball courts and plenty of lush, green grass, there’s also the much-loved rock climbing wall and power jump bungee trampoline for kids.
“The power jump is always a big hit with the kids,” said Dale Mandeville, owner of the Bozeman Straw Bale Maze. “We’ll be here two to three times a month setting up the jump for the kids.”
The market also supports maintenance and improvements for Bogert Park. All revenue from vendor fees go to “Friends of Bogert Park,” a nonprofit run by community volunteers.
The funding helps improve the playgrounds, the tennis and basketball courts, the band shell and the pavilion, and helps with creek restoration, according to Huber-McGee. The big project on tap for this year: a new water fountain which will be “a big fish you can drink out of.”
The fountain is being supported by a local grant and designed by local artists. With the help of the organization SLAM, Support Local Artists and Musicians, local artists Mitch Billis and Sarah Anderson have been hired to design the fountain.
With summer nights lasting well into 9 o’clock hour, there’s always local music to enjoy after the market closes. The Bozeman City Band has performances in the music pavilion for eight weeks of out the summer. The Equinox Theater also brings in camp programs to perform plays.
The Bogert Farmers’ Market is every Tuesday evening from 5 – 8 p.m. through Sept. 25.
Big Sky Farmers’ Market
BIG SKY— With July quickly approaching, Big Sky’s own famers’ market will soon be taking over the Town Center on Wednesday evenings.
Since the market started four years ago it has seen tremendous support from the community, according to Wendy Swenson, events coordinator at the Town Center.
“The farmers’ market has been a great place for people from the community to come out, gather together, get dinner and listen to music,” Swenson said.
Though the Big Sky Farmers Market draws a few vendors from as far away as Idaho and Billings, many are local and regional. This year, past favorites like Big Sky Antlers and the Bozeman Alpacas will be in attendance, along with many others. The vendor list was close to 80 at press time, with the market still a couple weeks away.
“We have a great mix of local and regional artisans, which gives a great feel of shopping for an evening and going home with things you don’t see everywhere else,” Swenson said.
The live music during the market will feature many of the same Montana musicians as last season.
“The vendors at farmers’ markets are one big traveling family,” Swenson said. “It’s been wonderful to be a part of that and get such good feedback from the community.”
The Big Sky Farmers’ Market runs every Wednesday, 5 – 8 p.m., from July 11 – Sept. 5 in Fire Pit Park.
Community supported agriculture
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is the easiest and best way to get locally grown and organic food straight from the farm to your table. With CSA’s, farmers and costumers work together to grow and share produce.
Each season, farmers offer a “share” of their produce to the public. These shares, which consist of a box or bag of produce, are bought by consumers. Each week, the buyer receives a basket of produce from that week’s harvest.
Simple, healthy and sustainable, CSA’s benefit both parties. Along with receiving their shares, costumers may also be offered the chance to meet “their” farmer and see where food is grown. This is not only a great opportunity for farmers to share their knowledge and lifestyle, but also a great way for consumers to become more active and involved in food choices and local farms.
Along with vegetables, some farmers add other goods to their baskets such as meats, farm eggs, homemade bread, cheese, fruit and flowers. Shares can also be customizable depending on the farm, allowing the consumer a choice in which products fill their basket each week.
There are many CSA farms in southwest Montana. To learn more about CSA or find a farm that fits you, visit localharvest.org.
FARMERS MARKETS’ AROUND THE REGION
Big Sky Farmers Market
Ousel Falls Rd. & Lone Peak Drive – Fire Pit Park
Wednesdays, 5 – 8 p.m.
July 11 – Sept. 5
Bogert Farmers Market
Bogert Park, S. Church Ave.
Tuesdays, 5 – 8 p.m.
June 5 – Sept. 25
Gallatin Valley Farmers Market
901 N. Black, Corner of Tamarack & N Black
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – noon
June 16 – Sept. 8
Monday Night Farmers Market
Rockin’ TJ Ranch, 651 Lynx Lane
5 – 8 p.m.
June 18 – Sept. 24
Madison Farm to Fork Farmers Market
Valley Bank parking lot, E. Main St.
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – noon
June 2 to Sept. 15
Livingston Farmers Market
Miles Bandshell park, next to Civic Center, 229 River Drive
Wednesdays, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m., music until 9 p.m.
June 6 – Sept. 26
Big Timber Farmers Market
Lions Club Park, corner of McLeod Street & E. 8th Ave.
Thursdays, 4 – 7 p.m.
June 28 – Sept. 20
Whitehall Farmers Market
Legion Street Park, east end
Saturday, 9 a.m. – noon
Wednesdays, 3 – 6 p.m.
June 2 – Oct. 6
June 6 – Oct. 10
Second Saturday Farmers Market
Virginia City Artisans & Growers Guild, across from the Opera House
2nd Saturdays, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
March – Aug.
Butte Farmers Market
West Park Street between Gamer’s Cafe and the Phoenix Building
Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
May 26 – Oct. 6
Manhattan Farmers Market
Park on West Main in downtown Manhattan
Wednesdays, 4 – 7 p.m.
June 20 – Sept. 26