I'm glad I had a chance to see Roundup again because I learned a lesson in visiting markets: don't count on actually seeing the market.
I suppose that is not fair to Ray, the sole vendor who showed up on this hot Saturday. He made the effort to do his part, even if no one else did, including the market manager.
But there was no market sign when I drove past the Busy Bee Cafe, and the parking lot looked empty, so I spent a few minutes exploring Roundup, pretty much seeing the town in that time.
The highlight was a surprise museum in the back of a store whose name I forget (sorry!) -- look for U.S. and Montana flags flying and the "Gifts and Souvenirs" sign.
The owner said she wanted to display all the cool stuff people in town have been saving, and the result is an eclectic collection of mounted stuffed animals, saddles, and shelves of old odds and ends. Did you know ground coffee used to come in large glass jars?
I went to check the market area again and there was Ray. His table was covered with flea market items and some bags of Kettle Korn he had made. He explained that he had sold this delicious treat at the Billings market for years, where he was told he made the best in the state. It was pretty good, and an adequate reward for driving an hour north of Billings to visit a market that almost wasn't there.
Ray told me you can freeze the Kettle Korn. He said you can then pop it in the microwave to make it taste fresh again.
Another treat was the banana cream pie at the nearby Busy Bee Cafe. They also gave me a large to-go cup for a last refill of their very very tasty raspberry lemonade. Do stop at the cafe if you're in town.
But before I drove to Roundup, I had been at the Billings market, where vendor booths covered several downtown blocks.
I learned that you can eat radish seed pods -- they taste like the radishes themselves.
But the most interesting lesson was how to cart your purchases home. The following are a few ways I saw people carrying their goods: red wagons (available for use at each end of the market), shopping carts, and luggage.
Roundup Saturday Market
Busy Bee Cafe parking lot, 317 1st Avenue West
May 29 - September 25
Saturday, 9 am - 1 pm
Yellowstone Valley Farmers Market
Under the Skypoint, downtown Billings
July 17 - October 2
Saturday, 8:30 am - noon
In August (4th - 25th)
Wednesday, 4:30 pm - 8 pm