If plunging down the Back Bowls on a powder day is Vail’s quintessential winter experience, spending a day strolling (and snacking) through the village’s outdoor summer market certainly is its warm-weather equivalent. Just know that the name is something of a misnomer, given that just 5 of 114 registered vendors are actual farmers (like Clark Family Orchards, a Grand Valley farmstead that’s been producing softball-size Palisade peaches since the late 1800s), and 22 are “artisans” (like Ann Kurronen, who produces superlative chèvre at her Eagle-based creamery, AnnaVail Cheese; and Matt Inden, a modern-day Ansel Adams with a gallery in Lionshead who shoots large-format photography with an antique accordion-style glass plate camera). As for the rest, you’ll find everything from hardwood cutting boards (Colorado Wood Slice, butcher blocks handmade in Glenwood Springs) and longboards (Simplicity, hand-built by Vail local Harry Jorck) to dehydrated rabbit jerky treats for your dog (Smart Cookie, a dog treat bakery based in Golden). And while Sundays in the Village might be light on the produce, market-goers won’t leave hungry thanks to servings of sky-high to-go dishes served up by a plethora of local restaurants (from Matsuhisa sushi to a Kirby Cosmo’s turkey leg that might feed a small family). Kids burn off all that extra energy gleaned from Delicioso Gelato, Mountain Cupcakes, and Ruth’s Toffee by taking turns on the mechanical bull (by No-Bull Entertainment, found here when it’s not at the Beaver Creek Rodeo) or in the bouncy castle on the Solaris green.
Try not to lose focus at the smell of cinnamon-sugar almonds toasting at the base of the Transportation Center (by Castle Rock’s Bob Stephens, a.k.a., Bob’s Roasted Nuts), and save room for all the samples. And back to the dogs: Although this may be billed as a Fido-friendly event, be a Smart Cookie and leave your best friend at home, then head to the hills for a hike, where there aren’t shoulder-to-shoulder people and hot-to-paws pavement.
When it is:
Sundays, June 17–Oct 7, 10:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Where it is:
Meadow Drive, Vail Village
What it costs:
Who goes there:
Tourists looking for one-of-a-kind souvenirs, families strolling with hungry kids, locals swapping stories with vendors
If you’re a localvore …
The Market’s Farm to Table Dinner series, a tented, plein air picnic with chefs from resort restaurants (Flame, Gessner, Hooked, The 10th) plating farmers market finds—like Olathe corn, peaches from Palisade, and Colorado lamb—paired with wines from Colorado and farther afield. Don’t be surprised by the ogling passersby. (June 22, July 20, Aug 17; 5:30–8 p.m., $195)
If you’re looking for fresh produce for dinner …
Every Saturday (from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.), just under 20 vendors (from farmers and fishmongers to butchers and bakers) fill the lot outside Edwards’s Corner (a strip mall at the northeast corner of Highway 6 and Edwards Access Road in downtown Edwards), hawking produce from around Colorado’s western slope and freshly baked ciabatta and other goodies from Hovey & Harrison’s storefront produce market and bakery. edwardscornerfarmersmarket.com
If you like to people watch …
The Minturn Market, a Diagon Alley-esque bazaar downtown with handmade jewelry, tents of tie-dyed T-shirts, and topical salves made from local honey, even a resident fortune teller. (Saturdays, June 16–Sept 8, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.; minturnmarket.org) New this summer: On Wednesday evenings, Avon closes Lake Street near Nottingham Park to host a farmers market, with a beer garden for adults and a play area for kids. (June 20–Sept 12, 4 p.m. to dusk; lakestreetmarket.org)