Friday, July 30, 2010

Arlee market -- small but vibrant

I've passed through Arlee many times, heading north and south to and from Missoula, but I never knew exactly where it was.

As you travel throughout Montana, you will find this is a frequent experience. Where is Two Dot? (It's that tavern.) Where is Cushman? (It must be that, er, building in the middle of the field.) Etc.

Downtown Arlee (both blocks of it) is stretched out along Highway 93, with the northbound lanes running through downtown and past the market and the southbound lanes running a block or so farther west. You can't miss the market; you'll see it as you enter Arlee from the south. If you drive past, turn left as soon as you can and make a quick round trip.

If you happen to be driving from the north, turn left and head to the main street. There might not be signage on the southbound lanes due to a misunderstanding (hopefully temporary) with the highway department.

You never know how many vendors will show up each week. I saw 7, but there could be as many as 20, according to Debra Little, the market manager. She said she is proud of how it is going during their first year.

Small as it is, this market offers some solid reasons to visit.

Indulge in sweets from Chocolate Eclipse, a truly gourmet experience.

Pamper yourself with wooden spoons or flowers offered by Chris Ringwalt, who told me he raises flowers because he likes to walk through them and linger in their fragrance as they grow. He also enjoys creating beautiful spoons and ladles during the winter, and he can never make enough; they sell quickly.

If you feel in need of a religious experience, local Buddhists share their beliefs as well as give directions to the Peace Garden 1 mile north of town.

You might even enjoy the Best Cookie.

Debra loves the market, and she is doing a great job creating it, managing it, and promoting it. Be sure to buy a T-shirt with the fabulous market logo on it.

Jocko Valley Farmers Market
Downtown Arlee on Highway 93,
between Hanging Art Gallery and Rick's Kustom Kut
May 21 - October 1
Friday, 4 pm - 8 pm

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