Salt Lake City's Downtown Farmers Market launches its 18th year this Saturday, and market organizers threw a pre-game party Monday to get folks ready for all the stroller-dodging, dog-tugging fun.---
Officially speaking, the party is%uFFFDa chance to "gather with the growers" and chat up a slew of participating produce providers, chefs and craftsmen by partaking in their various goodies while raising some money for the market. In reality, it's an unusually festive party for a Monday, with non-stop Squatter's beer and vino to accompany a serious spread of market-fresh grub to sample, all from people who will set up shop at the Pioneer Park market every Saturday from this week til mid-October.
Among the treats on hand Monday: a black bean lasagne with lamb linguica sausage, High West Distillery serving up its "white whiskey," chicken with mole from Frida Bistro, Morgan Valley lamb,%uFFFDempanadas from Argentina, an array of hummus and honeys to beat the%uFFFDband, lettuce wraps from Cali's Natural Foods, kolaches and an array of desserts ranging from cupcakes to gelatto. Yes, we were living pretty large.
The three-hour feeding frenzy is a pretty great deal despite the seemingly steep $50 ticket price. When you think about all the grub you get to sample during the party, and how much time that will save you when you're trolling the Saturday morning market and you KNOW you gotta have some of that lamb, or fresh pasta, or Crumb Brothers bakery bread, it's well worth it.
No doubt the couple hundred people on hand upstairs at Squatter's Monday--ranging from media types to city officials to%uFFFDFarmers Market fans--would agree.
The 18th annual Downtown Farmers Market opens Saturday at 8 a.m. at Salt Lake City's Pioneer Park.