By Michele Robertson
Growing season has arrived, and with it residents and visitors alike will have two options for getting local crafts and produce. The Carlsbad Downtown Farmers Market (CDFM) has been around for about 10 years, and a new farmers market at the Balzano Family Farm & Vineyard has now set up north of town.
Carlsbad MainStreet (CMS) Executive Director Karla Niemeier shared that the CDFM will begin on July 16th, and run through October 15th from 5:30 pm - 8 pm or at dark when it is later in the season. The CDFM is held on the courthouse lawn in downtown Carlsbad. This year marks the 2nd year for the market switching from Saturday mornings to Thursday evenings. The move occurred last year due to market visitor attendance. After deliberation with the CMS board it was decided to host the market on Thursday evenings as a winding down of the week, to include music and food vendors. CMS partnered with the Pearl of the Pecos Arts and Culture District (POP) to bring in artists that would demonstrate and sell their art at the market.
“Last season’s opening day’s attendance was more than the previous season’s entire season. Since last season was successful, we are anticipating this season to be even better. With so many places being closed due to Covid-19, we feel that people will be excited about the market opening, providing them with something to do,” Niemeier said.
CMS plans on partnering with POP again this year, and will be asking local bands to perform. The CDFM has a new market manager, Michelle Lucas. Any gardeners that would like to sell their produce at the market pay a one-time application fee of $10. All other vendors will pay the $10 application fee, and $10 weekly to participate. To get more information on the CDFM or for the application email email@example.com and be sure to check out their Facebook page for more details.
“Creative Carlsbad and POP Arts & Culture District are looking forward to featuring different artists throughout the summer at the farmers market. Each artist will demonstrate their craft at the market, and offer items for purchase. Carlsbad is full of amazingly talented people, and we look forward to sharing their art with the community. We will also be carrying on the ‘Carlsbad Comm-oodle’ tradition, providing sidewalk chalk and space for the whole family to get creative and add some color to the sidewalks on the courthouse lawn,” shared Julie Chester, Executive Director for the POP Arts & Culture District.
“Please shop locally before shopping online or out of town. People will be surprised at what can be found at our local stores,” said Niemeier. “Come support the Carlsbad Downtown Farmers’ Market every Thursday evening starting in July” she added.
The Balzano Family Farm & Vineyard farmers market, located at 5238 Seven Rivers Highway, Carlsbad NM (about 19 miles north of Carlsbad) started on May 30th, and will run every Saturday through August 29th from 9 am to noon. It is free to attend the market, and it is also free for vendors to set up. To be a vendor, contact co-owner Toni Balzano at firstname.lastname@example.org you can also get more information by visiting their Facebook page. The decision to bring the farmers market to the vineyard came as a result of Covid-19 and the difficulties the shut-down brought.
“It became clear early on that we were going to have to think outside the box to keep our business going. In addition to that, we have lots of wonderful vendor friends that were having a very hard time making money with all of their shows canceled,” Balzano said. “With all of that in mind, we decided we could reopen with a weekly Farmers Market and help local producers and vendors make a little money every week during this hard time. It has also helped us bring new people out to the vineyard, which we are now able to open and serve food and sell wine by the bottle. It just felt like a win, win for everyone,” she added.
When visiting the Balzano Farmers Market, you will find locally crafted items as well as locally grown produce. Produce is also co-oped from farmers around the state and country. Balzano shared, “It is really important for us to support farmers and ranchers across the country, because they really need our help right now.”
“We have been overwhelmed by the support and love shown to us and our vendors by Carlsbad and Artesia, our crowds have been great and we think that will only grow in the future. We continue to add new vendors every week so people will see different vendors each week. We are so grateful for all the support of the community,” stated Balzano.