Thursday, July 23, 2009

Big Sky market

Big Sky is a ski resort southwest of Bozeman. Its condos and amenities spread out for many miles. But in the middle is a retail area called the Town Center, and here you find the farmers market.

About 4,000 people live in Big Sky year round (with 15,000 estimated to be there on any one day during peak season times). I was impressed with the 100 or so vendors who showed up on this second day of the market, which is in its first year. Most towns this size boast a top 10 vendors, so you have to be in awe that the market coordinators, Wendy and Ryan, have done such a great job organizing all this.

There wasn't much produce, but anyone shopping farmers markets in eastern Montana this time of year doesn't really expect it. I saw herbs, onions, lettuce, radishes, spinach, rainbow chard . . . all the usual early crops.

Most vendors sold prepared food (jellies, granola, bread, brownies, etc.) or wonderful handcrafted items, including pottery, jewelry, furniture, and woven scarves.

There were even some alpacas from Manhattan, Mont., along with items made from their lovely wool.

There was some good cooking going on in one area of the market, with many dishes to choose from. The most popular seemed to be pizza from a real wood-burning oven that was cleverly contained in a large trailer.

The market only lasts 2 hours, from 5 pm to 7 pm, so it seems to me that every minute must count for these vendors as well as their customers. Thus it was disappointing to see a storm move in at about a quarter to 7, with high winds that blew merchandise around and had everyone scurrying for cover when the rain started falling.

Still, it was an enjoyable way to spend the evening. The market is timed to coordinate with an outdoor concert (not sure how that went in the storm tonight!) and even package deals for spending the night or weekend in Big Sky. You can really make an event of visiting this particular market. Even if you come only for the market itself, the drive there is spectacular along Highway 191.

Fire Pit Park, Town Center
July 9 - September 17
every other Thursday, 5 pm - 7 pm

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