The farmers markets are coming back to life all across the Treasure Valley. But it’s not just about scoring local foodstuffs and wines. Most Saturday markets in the area also offer a mix of locally made arts and crafts alongside the consumables.
Capital City Public Market opens April 16
With the City Center Plaza construction going on at The Grove in Downtown Boise, the Capital City Public Market (9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., April 16-Dec. 17) is once again extending down the 8th Street corridor from Main to State streets — past the Capitol.
The Capital City Public Market got its start in 1994 and is the largest of its kind in the Gem State. The market consistently has around 130 to 140 vendors on any given Saturday, ranging from area farmers and cheesemakers to jewelry artists and woodworkers, and really everything in between.
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This year, the market has added several food and drink vendors, including Nature’s Indulgence Granola, Darjeeling Momo dumplings and Lime and Coconut Thai food. Also expect to find some new art vendors as well.
“It’s always fun to see new people at the market,” Market Director Melissa Nodzu says.
The Capital City Public Market also has some new programs in store for shoppers, such as the Two Bits Kids’ Club and Field of Dreams, a booth that serves as an incubator for potential agricultural vendors looking to test their products on the masses that flow through the market each week.
Boise Farmers Market is in full swing
Boise Farmers Market (9 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 2-Oct. 29) recently started its fourth season in Downtown Boise. Situated in a big parking lot at the corner of 10th and Grove streets, across from the recently completed JUMP building and the in-progress Simplot headquarters, the burgeoning market keeps the focus on food and beverages. Once again, expect to find a large array of farmers, bakers, cheesemakers, artisanal food vendors, wineries and more.
Besides its flagship vendors, Boise Farmers Market has picked up some new vendors for the 2016 market season.
“I’m excited about this year. We have lots of new faces,” Market Director Karen Ellis says.
She’s talking about produce vendors such as Fiddler’s Green Farms, Ribier Gardens and AC&D Farms from Fruitland. New prepared food vendors include Mobley’s Hand-Crafted Ice Cream, Sweet Valley Cookie Co. and Insomniac Cheesecake Shack. And let’s not forget all those fizzy elixirs from Idaho Kombucha Company.
Firefly Garden Art is also there with cool stuff for your yard.
Sprouts Kids’ Club starts the first week of May. It offers the wee ones all kinds of educational opportunities and cooking classes.
On May 7, don’t forget to stop by and pick up some freshly cut flowers or a hanging flower pot for Mother’s Day.
Eagle Saturday Market opens April 23
Eagle Saturday Market (9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 23-Oct. 15) sets up in Heritage Park each week with an amalgam of food and art vendors.
The Eagle Arts Commission started the market in 2002. It’s now under the direction of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
“The focus was primarily on arts and crafts before,” Community Enhancement Coordinator Jenessa Hansen says. “Everyone is saying they want more food and drink.”
Duly noted. New food and drink vendors this year include Boise Fry Co., The Zenful Pantry, Saffron Snacks, BuckSnort Root Beer and Relic Coffee, to name a few. Also expect to see more fresh produce.
Art is still a big part of the market, and new arts and crafts vendors this year include Refunked Junk, Cheri Taliaferro Jewelry and handcrafted purses, aprons and clothing by Jess Lynn Designs.
Also new this year, the Eagle Saturday Market is starting a Gazebo Concert Series (from 6:30 to 9 p.m.) on the last Thursday of the month (May-September) that works in conjunction with a smaller-scale Night Market that goes from 4 to 9 p.m. on the last Thursdays.
West Boise Saturday Market also opens April 16
West Boise Saturday Market (10 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 16-Oct. 22) is the new kid in town.
The market, sponsored by Art Zone 208, is setting up in a grassy area next to the art gallery across the parking lot from the Boise Public Library at the corner of Cole and Ustick roads.
You’ll find around 20 to 25 vendors hawking jewelry, photography, soy candles, honey and even clothes for your pooch. Try some artisan chocolates from Nezzy’s Brazilian Sweets or pick up a hand-lathed wooden bowl made by local artist Dave Gribskov.
The market is starting out small in its inaugural year but hopes to grow as time goes on.
Food trucks will be on hand each week to feed hungry shoppers, and expect to hear live music throughout the season.
James Patrick Kelly, the Idaho Statesman’s restaurant critic, is the author of the travel guidebook “Moon Idaho.” The latest edition hit the shelves in March. Kelly also teaches journalism at Boise State University.
Check out these other farmers markets
Nampa Farmers Market
New location this season in the parking lot at Front Street and 13th Avenue adjacent to the former spot at Lloyd Square.
Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from April 30- Oct. 29
Canyon County Co-op Summer Community Market
The new natural food cooperative in Downtown Nampa is setting up an outdoor market in the store’s parking lot at 1415 1st St. S.
Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Oct. 29
Caldwell Farmers Market
The midafternoon/early evening market sets up on Arthur Street (between Kimball and 7th avenues) next to Treasure Valley Community College.
Wednesdays, 3 to 7 p.m. from May through September
Kuna Farmers Market
The small market sets up at Col. Bernard Fisher Veterans Memorial Park (Kuna City Park), at 201 W. Main St., in the shadow of the water tower.
Saturdays, 9 a.m. to noon from May to September
McCall’s Farmers Market
The market comes to life twice a week in the big parking lot at Pine and Lenore streets behind Hotel McCall.
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from June to October
Wood River Farmers Market (two locations)
Ketchum: Sets up at East Avenue and 4th Street across from Atkinson’s Market.
Tuesdays, 2 to 6 p.m. from June to October
Hailey: Located on Main Street between Carbonate and Galena streets.
Thursdays, 2 to 6 p.m. from June to October