Here’s how to make the most of this beloved annual summer event in Vail.
For 17 Sundays in the summer and fall, East Meadow Drive simply bustles with the Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show. In fact, it’s one of the best opportunities to shop for Colorado-grown and locally made goods in town.
From mid-June through early October, the street is lined with white tents where customers peruse everything from freshly baked pies and bags of glistening cherries to paintings and pottery by local artists. To make the most of this beloved open-air bazaar, follow our tips below.
The farmers’ market takes place every Sunday from 9:30am to 3:30pm. For those traveling by car, parking is available at Vail or Lionshead villages (rates vary; find parking details). June through October are sun-soaked months in Colorado, but the weather can be unpredictable, particularly in higher-altitude towns like Vail. Be sure to dress in layers and bring sunscreen, plenty of water and reusable shopping bags, which are essential for transporting all of the goodies you pick up. (They also support Vail’s sustainability efforts.)
Get there early to snag the best produce.
The warm-weather seasons are prime times to taste the bounty of Colorado farmers, who bring some of their freshest fruits and veggies to markets across the state, including Vail’s. To choose from the best variety (and beat the crowds), arrive at the farmers’ market as early as possible.
In the summer, look for vibrant salad-builders such as leafy greens, plump tomatoes in a rainbow of colors and fresh cucumbers. Juicy stone fruits such as peaches, cherries and apricots are also coveted finds. In the fall, keep your eyes peeled for squash and pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, fresh and roasted chiles (a staple grown in southern Colorado) and sweet corn. Check out Colorado Proud’s produce calendar to find out what’s in season when you’re visiting.
Peruse the vendor list before you go.
More than 145 artisans, culinary businesses, farms and ranches — many of which are based in the state — set up shop at the farmers’ market every week. Whether you’re seeking fresh flowers, houseplants, locally made condiments like hot sauces and pickles, handmade soap or home decor like engraved wooden signs and tapestries, the market is a wonderful place to find them. Make a list of vendors you want to visit in advance to make sure you pop by them all.
Tons of makers offer samples of food, drinks and even spirits, while others sell ready-to-eat snacks and portable options for breakfast and lunch. Grab a crepe filled with fruit and Nutella, a bratwurst loaded with all the fixings or an Argentine-style empanada. Other snacks to munch on include roasted nuts, wild-game beef jerky, popcorn and craft chocolate. Also look for booths occupied by bakeries to pick up pastries, cookies, sourdough bread and other treats.
Attend the Farm-to-Table dinner series.
For the ultimate culinary experience, buy tickets to the popular Farm-to-Table dinner series, where chefs from Vail and beyond collaborate to prepare multi-course, seasonally inspired feasts. Ingredients are sourced from local farms, ranches and purveyors, and the intimate al fresco meals are paired with wines (or beers for hops lovers). Examples of past dishes include a beet and peach salad with creamy goat cheese, braised veal and a stone-fruit tart accompanied by strawberry gelato. Dinners take place throughout the market season; check the dinner calendar for dates and to find out how to reserve your seats.
Mark your calendar.
The Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show is just one of many fun events put on annually in Vail. Tons of exciting happenings take place throughout the year, including the Kris Kringle Market in December and a full summer season of signature events, including GoPro Mountain Games and Vail Dance. Browse our calendar of events for the most up-to-date listings, and find a full list of Vail culinary events.
More Summer Things to Do in Vail:
• Traveling with your furry best friend? Use this dog-friendly guide to Vail.
• Check out the boundless scenery on these Vail mountain-biking trails.
• Use these 10 tips when planning your Colorado summer vacation to Vail.