Salt Lake City’s farmers markets draw loyal consumers

Story and slideshow by JOSH SOUTAS

Experience all that the Winter Market has to offer.

 

“We never miss a market,” said Salt Lake City local Paula Butler. Her friend, Lori Martin, added, “We come every time.” Butler and Martin are just two of the many consumers who wander around the Winter Market at 10 a.m. every other Saturday from November until April looking for locally grown produce.

The two said the combination of fresh produce, and the get-together that the Winter Market has become, is what keeps them coming back.

“It’s now as much of a social event as it is a grocery shopping event for us,” said Butler, who is also a regular at the summer Saturday Market. “Not only do you know what you are buying is healthy and good for you, but it is fun to come and meet the farmers who grow and are selling their own local products.”

In its third year, the Winter Market is held in the historical Rio Grande Depot. The train station’s tracks were first used in 1910, according to Utah Communication History Encyclopedia writer Kelsie Haymond. The old train station is transformed into a paradise for consumers who are looking for locally grown produce during the winter months. Vendors, who set up shop where passengers used to load onto trains, give the landmark building a lively atmosphere again.

The market entrance runs through the Rio Gallery, located in the Grand Lobby of the Rio Grande Depot. Shoppers on the second floor get an overhead view of the artwork in the free gallery.

Alison Einerson, market manager of the Salt Lake City Farmers Markets, said in a phone interview that the Winter Market almost exclusively features food vendors who cater to local eaters.

The Winter Market occurs when many vegetables and fruits are out of season. Einerson said that challenge was not difficult to overcome.

“It’s really eye opening to see that there are still so many locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables available, even though it is December and snowing, or February and bitter cold outside,” Einerson said. “There [are] beets, asparagus, parsley, onions, potatoes, and in my opinion our market is home to the best local baked goods.”

Einerson also agreed with market regulars Butler and Martin that many people attend the market not only for the produce, but also for the social occasion that it has become.

It is not surprising to see the Winter Market be successful even though it has not been around as long as the established Saturday Market. Farmers markets have risen in popularity with more than 8,200 nationwide, a 76 percent increase since 2008, according to the USDA.

Steven Mountford is a honey farmer with White Lake Farms. The Genola, Utah, farm has been a vendor with the Winter Market since its opening. It also takes part in the Saturday Market during the summer.

Mountford said he understands why farmers markets have been growing in popularity and size, especially in the last few years.

His explanation? He said people are starting to be curious and are caring where their food is coming from.

“It is important to expose people to the reality of where their food is coming from,” Mountford said. “People are now questioning how their food is getting to them and if it is good for them.”

Mountford isn’t wrong, according to a 2011 food dialogues survey. The survey focused on opinions, attitudes and questions that consumers and farmers had about the state of how food is raised in the U.S. The study found that “consumers think about food production constantly, yet know very little about how food is brought to the dinner table.”

Mountford believes that consumers asking questions about their food and caring where it is coming from is making a difference.

“You get customers asking restaurant owners, ‘Where did this chicken come from?’ or ‘Where did these vegetables come from?’ People didn’t used to ask these questions. And it helps motivate restaurant owners to buy locally,” he said.

Salsa Del Diablo, a Salt Lake City company, has participated in the Winters Market for two years. It also took part in the Saturday Market for the first time in 2015, one of the four Utah summer markets it participated in last year.

The company carries eight different salsa flavors in the summer, and four in the winter. Salsa Del Diablo motivates customers to buy its products by donating 1 percent of profit to adaptive sports in Utah.

Employee Jennifer Lehmbuck said the local markets are what helped the company break through into grocery stores in 2015.

“Farmers Markets open doors for local companies like Salsa Del Diablo,” Lehmbuck said.

Besides the exposure that the market has provided, Lehmbuck said she has seen other benefits of participating in markets.

“These local farmers markets build community. It helps get people connected with their food and lets them get to know where and whom their food is coming from,” Lehmbuck said. Salsa Del Diablo sources the majority of its salsa ingredients from Bangerter Farms, located in Bountiful, Utah.

Michael Pollan, author of “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation” and creator of the Netflix documentary series “Cooked,” told “Nourish” that “a farmers market is kind of like a public square, and there is a nice social energy. At the farmers market, city meets country. People learn about where their food comes from and the people who grew it.”

Market Manager Einerson said this growth in community is one of the main benefits of a farmers market. It supports the local farmers and vendors.

Winter Market Transitioning to Summer Saturday Market

 The Winter Market at Rio Grande closes for the season on April 23, 2016. But Einerson and vendors are looking ahead to the Saturday Market, which will be taking place for the 25th time this year. “It has been a staple of the community here in Salt Lake City,” Einerson said.

Many of the Winter Market vendors, including Salsa Del Diablo and White Lake Farms, will return for the weekly Saturday Farmers Market. They will be joined by dozens more who did not participate in the seasonal event.

Einerson said the time off in between the markets seems seamless to staff as they work throughout May to approve applications, finalize vendor lists and assign locations in Pioneer Park.

The summer Saturday Farmers Market, along with the Arts and Crafts Market, run June 11 through October 22, 2016, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.

“It doesn’t seem like a long break to us because we don’t stop working. But I am sure the public miss it,” Einerson said.

Indeed, for locals like Paula Butler and the Lori Martin who “never miss a market,” the month and a half without a farmers market is too long.

Interested in finding a local farmers market near you? Visit The Salt Lake Tribune for a list of farmers markets near you.

 

 

 

Josh Soutas

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At the start of this semester I could easily have pointed out my two greatest weaknesses when it came to reporting and writing. First, punctuation, and second, interviewing sources.

BiopicThrough this class I feel that I have grown greatly in both of these two areas of my craft. Although I am still working on punctuation, I feel that I have learned how to properly use it better this semester, through both in-class exercises and the out-of class stories.

Where I have had the most growth in my eyes, however, is learning how to ask better questions when interviewing sources. Through this class, the discussions, readings and assignments, I feel that I have been able to ask better, more meaningful questions to get the information I need from a source.

For me, one of the most difficult parts of being a professional storyteller is remembering to keep your voice and opinion out of a story, but still be able to influence that piece with your style. I have learned this semester that this is a difficult but very rewarding challenge. On the other hand, the most satisfying part of being a storyteller, is when you complete and publish a story and see that you gave someone, or something, a voice that it did not have before.

 My reporting increased my understanding of our “Arts and Culture” beat tremendously. It is funny to think how we struggled to describe what “Arts and Culture” meant to us in the beginning of the semester. One way that my reporting increased my understanding of our beat is by getting the stories and opinions of the arts and culture here in Salt Lake City through interviewing my sources.

I think that the biggest benefit of covering this beat was getting to know and become fairly connected to the culture here in Salt Lake City. Being a transfer student who spent the last two years in Florida, I knew very little about the arts and culture here in Salt Lake City. Because of our out-of class stories, I feel that I became more connected with the city that I live in.

As a result of my reporting this semester, I have improved in multiple, if not all areas of my writing/reporting. I am no longer nervous when preparing to interview a source, and have learned how to paraphrase, and paraphrase well.

ABOUT ME:

I am currently 21 and a junior at the University of Utah. I spent the first two years of my college education at the University of Tampa in Florida. I will graduate with a degree in communication with a sequence in journalism. I am interested in both sports and advocacy journalism. I love to meet new people, which is why I moved to Florida alone when I had the opportunity. It is also is why I am passionate about journalism. I like to hear people’s stories, get their viewpoint and see something through someone else’s eyes.

I have a love for all sports, especially soccer. You will never see me miss a Manchester United game. I am a hard worker, go to school and work full time, and enjoy nature even if the mountains are second best to the beaches in Florida.

My passion for advocacy journalism comes from my parents and family background. I am the oldest of eight kids, four of whom are adopted, including one boy and one girl from Ethiopia, Africa. My Mom, who is finishing up her master’s degree in social work, and my Dad, who is a dentist, help lead mission/free dentistry trips for the Ordinary Hero Foundation. My parents have preached equality and human rights in my house for as long as I can remember and I want to use journalism to give a voice to those who are otherwise voiceless.

Peyton M. Dalley

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I transferred to the University of Utah after two years at Dixie State University. My goal was to get more journalism experience and pursue the passion for writing I’ve had my whole life. Not only was I able to get writing opportunities, but I also had a one-on-one interaction with my future employer.

Within three months I was able to execute my passion for writing, while developing a skillset that can be used through a variety of fields, not just in the journalism world. This prepared me for face-to-face interviews and on-the-spot writing that led up to my final enterprise story, where I was able to have a taste of my future career at NBC down in Los Angeles.

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Photo by Alyssa Ence.

Reporting and being a hands-on journalist this first semester helped me realize that silence sends the most powerful message. Seeing that I often ask many questions at once, reporting helped me realize that one question can lead to another and listening can be more powerful than asking. However, I did struggle with staying on one specific beat this semester. My reporting and journalism took more than one route and it was hard to re-route my objective back to one specific beat.

While my enterprise story was by far the hardest to execute, because of the time frame and deadlines, writing profiles and other side stories in between helped me develop the concept for my final story. I was also able to learn how to meet those deadlines in a short time. It not only gave me the confidence to know I could write a well-constructed story in a short time,  but also helped me multitask with several stories on the line with similar deadlines.

Both my media classes this semester provided me with the tools for constructing a well-written story. They also gave me connections for internships and opportunities to meet new people. On top of writing for class, I was also able to write as an intern for the Daily Utah Chronicle and become a co-editor for Odyssey Online. Both have helped get my work published on a platform for an audience to engage with.

Overall I would say this was a successful semester that pushed me to limits I didn’t even think were possible. I’m looking forward to what the next semester has in store and as a result of my reporting this semester, I have realized this is what I want to do with my life.

ABOUT ME: 

My name is Peyton Dalley, or TinaPey on social media. Since I was 8, I’ve had the desire to write and perform on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” — a dream I’m currently in the process of living.

If I’m not at my tiny pink laptop writing about a millennial-related topic, I can be found at a local coffee shop or head-banging at one of my favorite concerts. Little-dog videos are what get me through the day, and Amy Schumer’s voice soothes me to sleep at night. I love connecting with people on a real-world level, and enjoy laughing at the little things.

Currently I write for the Daily Utah Chronicle, as well as Odyssey Online, where I get to write what I love about this thing called life. I have been called the song bird of my generation, and am often times mistaken for the actor Tina Fey. Most importantly, I’m fluent in both English and sarcasm, and majoring in mass communication at the University of Utah.

Jordan Senteno

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While reporting on this beat and writing stories, I did feel like an “outsider” just because I had never reported or written stories that dealt with diversity in arts and culture. I have never focused on this beat, so I felt like an “outsider” because I didn’t have the knowledge or background on this beat that an “insider” has. I think it affected my writing to begin with because I didn’t know what to expect or how to write a story that depicts diversity in arts and culture. But, as the semester went on, I felt more and more comfortable with the beat and the expectations. This allowed me to grow as writer.

My reporting of this beat did increase my understanding tremendously. For example, I learned the value of arts/culture in Salt Lake City. There are several different organizations here in Utah and they’re all striving to inform the community of the arts and many events happening all while trying to get others to make a difference and be creative. As we had guest speakers come in and talk about their role in the arts, I became more comfortable writing stories that reflect our diversity in arts and culture. I do see benefits of reporting this beat. For example, it broadened my writing ability as I got out of my comfort zone and wrote stories on a beat that I had never written about. Another benefit was getting my work out there in the world as we’re published, so many people can view my stories.

As a result of my reporting this semester, I became more aware and more knowledgeable about diversity in arts and culture. I will use this information to attend events in the community. This class as a whole from the reporting, exercises and discussions has helped me so much in developing my writing ability. I want to thank you Professor Mangun for pushing me this semester to become a more versed and credible writer.

ABOUT ME:

I realized when I was a sophomore in high school that I wasn’t going to become a professional football player. But, becoming a sports journalist will allow me to write about my love and passion for sports. Ever since that moment I have aspired to achieve my dream.

I graduated from Herriman High School and chose to take my talents to the University of Utah and major in communication. Being a sports fanatic I enjoy watching all sports and will never pass on watching a sporting event or reading different sports articles. Another one of my hobbies is writing on my blog.

I will be graduating from the University of Utah in May 2017. This journey has been tough and filled with many obstacles, but I feel like it has prepared me for becoming a successful sports journalist. My ultimate long-term goal/dream is becoming a sports anchor for either ESPN or NFL Network.

Cory Patel

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ABOUT ME:

Chris Samuels

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As reporters, our primary obligation is to convey a story to the general public and understand the meaning behind an event or topic. I think as an “outsider,” it was an interesting challenge to try to immerse in the topic and understand it well enough to write about it. I was able to gain an understanding of how the state government works in terms of art and culture, and develop a better sense of community as I reported on it. I think in most stories that we do, we start as “outsiders” and move to become “insiders,” if we aren’t already.

But here’s my question: how do journalists find their stories in the first place? This ties into the previous question of being an “outsider” or “insider.” I have a hard time answering questions about journalistic integrity and being “objective.” To me, it’s one thing to have an unfair influence on promoting something, rather than reporting facts. Journalists have had this traditional look of being apathetic, unbiased and completely separated from the normal doings and happenings of the public. I had that outlook at the start of my career at the school newspaper, trying to separate being a journalist and doing all the other things I loved doing. I am very involved in school, and noticed it was a challenge for writers and editors who were not involved at all to find stories that were relevant to the student body. How can journalists understand an issue completely if they aren’t immersed in it to a degree? How can they appreciate a story or find empathy and understanding with their readers if they don’t have those experiences themselves? I think the rules of objectivity need to be tweaked, because in this day and age, we all are involved with something important to us, and maybe only we can tell the story about it.

ABOUT ME:

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Photo by Sammy Jo Hester, Provo Daily Herald.

Originally from New Jersey, Chris is a student at the University of Utah studying communication and international studies. He loves attending the U, and has been involved with numerous activities on campus, including fraternity life, student government and community volunteering. Chris is the photo editor for the campus newspaper, the Daily Utah Chronicle. Chris enjoys skiing, tennis, golf, pulled pork sandwiches, bagels and milkshakes. Chris has been at the Deseret News since May 2015 as a member of the photojournalism staff. He wrote for Voices of Utah for the Spring 2016 semester.

Chelsie Casaus

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