The music may be gone for now, but Jackson Hole’s outdoor markets will play on.
As the Wednesday evening People’s Market approaches its fourth event of the summer, the Jackson Hole Farmers Market on Town Square prepares for its reopening July 11.
According to market manager Jenny May, the Jackson Hole Farmers Market will be trying a new setup to create more space for shoppers and vendors.
Normally the market hugs the sidewalk on three sides of Town Square. This summer the market will take place only on Center Street and East Deloney Avenue. Instead of keeping to the sidewalk and curb along the park, booths will stagger back-to-back across the middle of the streets to avoid congestion.
The Saturday market isn’t the only one that has changed its layout: This spring the People’s Market stopped using both sides of the parking lot at the base of Snow King and now spans the side along the baseball field.
According to Scott Steen, executive director of Slow Food in the Tetons, the market will add about three vendors each week as it slowly ramps up to a full market.
The People’s Market started this year at the beginning of June in phase one as a farmers and ranchers market only. Phase two is now gearing up as the market slowly adds packaged goods to the mix. Phase three is expected to look like the market of years past, with food made to order, live music and the option to picnic.
“We’re somewhere in phase two right now,” Steen said, “and I’m hoping that we’ll be able to do a full market by the end of July.”
With both markets following orders from the Teton County Health Department, shoppers are encouraged to wear masks, maintain 6 feet from others and stay home if they feel sick. Unlike past years, when people were encouraged to sit, eat and enjoy live music, this year’s markets are designed more as a place to shop for fresh foods and support local businesses.
“We try to get a really good variety of things so you don’t feel like you’re getting overly hammered with the same stuff,” May said, “but we will be farmer-heavy with fresh produce.”
This year the Jackson Hole Farmers Market celebrates its 20th anniversary, and while it’s not going to resemble what it was in the past, it’s still an opportunity to continue supporting and feeding Jackson’s local economy.
According to Steen, turnout at the People’s Market has been smaller so far this summer, but those who do come are supporting and buying.
“I think it’s delightful,” Steen said. “Most of the people who are there are really excited that the market’s open, that they can go there and shop comfortably.” There are even several new farmers this year. “That hasn’t happened in this community for years,” he said.
As Steen watches the market grow each week he has observed some people have a greater awareness of the importance of supporting local businesses, eating foods that are nutrient-dense and produced locally, and having a reliable source of fresh foods.
“I feel like those empty shelves were a wake-up call,” he said.
At the beginning of the pandemic, when people braved the grocery stores, many left without produce, he said. At local markets many people have the opportunity to ask farmers how they grow their foods, where it’s from and how to prepare it.
According to farmer Brent Tyc from Huidekoper Ranch, farmers markets are a way to create relationships with local farmers and producers and to support them.
“The people who have come to the People’s Market show up with more of a food-shopping mentality,” Tyc said.
The main difference Tyc has noticed from past years is a sense of connection. Unlike in the past, when it was easy to hide among the booths and the huge crowds, the People’s Market now allows vendors to feel seen.
Collectively, the two markets host about 60 local and regional vendors. Steen said they are among the last that allow consumers to know where their food comes from.
The People’s Market takes place 4-7 p.m. every Wednesday at the base of Snow King.
The Farmers Market takes place 8 a.m.-noon every Saturday starting Saturday on Town Square.
Also, as of June 25, the Slow Food in the Tetons’ Farm Stand is open for business 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday and Friday by Twigs Garden Center in the Movieworks Plaza. With support from Vera Iconica Architecture, Twigs, the Teton Conservation District, Teton Habitat For Humanity and Blue Spruce Cleaners, the stand offers fresh fruit, veggies and some hand-made products gathered from farmers from around the Northwest.
Go to TetonSlowFood.org for information. ￼