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Farmers market season begins in Loveland – Loveland Reporter-Herald

Mary Giles-Puntenney, right, buys some spinach and herbs from Isaac Livingood Tuesday, April 23, 2024, at the Eden Valley Farm booth during the first day of this season’s west Loveland Farmers Market in the Jax parking lot. (Jenny Sparks/Loveland Reporter-Herald)

Farmers market season has kicked off in northern Colorado, and Loveland is no exception.

Both producers and those who enjoy fresh produce and other locally made products had an opportunity to exchange Tuesday as the first farmer’s market of the year kicked off in the parking lot of JAX in west Loveland.

Karen Castranova chats with customers Tuesday at her booth, The Jelly Lady, LLC, during the first day of this season’s west Loveland Farmers Market in the Jax parking lot. She also sells Aspen Glo TALLOW cream and Colorado Cabin Candles. (Jenny Sparks/Loveland Reporter-Herald)

“I learned in my past to upsell a little bit,” said Isaac Livingood, who spent over two decades in sales before seeking out a career path that had a more sustainable business model, a search that landed him at Eden Valley Farms, who he sold produce on behalf of Tuesday. “But I almost don’t need to at all, it sells itself. We’re in an area, northern Colorado, where people are looking for this. They want fresh, local, healthy.”

Eden Valley produces herbs, vegetables, fruits like strawberries and raspberries, and has a particular affinity for tomatoes, which they have perfected by various soil alterations that don’t involve pesticides or genetically modified plants.

Nicky Martens, who participates in other farmers markets through her business, Heaven’s Choice Popcorn, knows many of the vendors who participated in Tuesday’s farmers market. One of the appealing things about farmers markets is the community and camaraderie that comes from being a vendor, she said.

“I look forward to seeing all my vendor friends who I haven’t seen all winter,” she said. “It is a community thing, most definitely.

In fact, she stopped by Tuesday during her lunch break to barter some of her popcorn for some produce from Eden Valley.

“That’s the great thing about farmer’s market vendors, you can trade your goods for other goods,” she said. “In the summertime I don’t pay for most of my groceries. I’m able to barter at farmer’s markets. It’s awesome, it’s one of my favorite things about having a popcorn business.”

The West Loveland Farmer’s Market will be open every Tuesday until Nov. 5, and a similar market in east Loveland, also at JAX, 950 E. Eisenhower Blvd. will take place every Friday between June 7 and Sept. 27. The Loveland Farmer’s Market at Fairgrounds Park will be open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Sunday from June 2 until Sept. 29.

Karen and Alan Castronova began making jams and jellies years ago when Karen would pick chokecherries with her daughter, now an adult. Based in Livermore, Alan deconstructed his log cabin decades ago and reconstructed it piece by piece where it currently stands in Livermore.
Now, in addition to jelly, they process beef tallow into candles and soaps.

Jellies are their origin though.

“That’s how I started, making jelly,” Karen Castronova said. “But people started requesting, and it became a business.”

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