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Thousands visit first Salt Lake farmers market of the season


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SALT LAKE CITY — It was the first day of the season for the downtown Salt Lake City Farmers Market. Lots of people were out and about, and many of them said it felt like life before COVID-19.

It takes a certain kind of person to be a salesman — you need energy, charisma and positivity. James McBeth has it.

"Once you have that mix, you'll never buy store-bought again," he said with a laugh to some customers looking at his hot sauces. "That will melt your face off."

McBeth owns Z's Hot Sauce in Ogden. "It's a three-pepper blend," he said while talking to customers.

In 2020, though, sales for even his hottest sauce went ice cold. "It was extremely tough. We almost went out of business because of COVID," said McBeth.

That's why this year might just be his most important year. "This is where the rubber meets the road," he said. "This is where we make our money every year is the farmers market."

Saturday was the first day of the season for the Salt Lake City Farmers Market. Many people who attended said it kind of felt normal.

"It's awesome. I love it. All these people? I love it," said McBeth with a laugh.

"It feels great to see people's faces, the social cues, and it's nice. It's been a long time," said Dan Kinikini, who lives in Salt Lake City.

Seeing people's faces was the number one thing we heard. It seems just being able to see smiles, even on strangers, actually does a lot for people.

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"I know. We do. We need to see people's faces," said Brooke Evans, who lives in Salt Lake City. "I mean, when we couldn't see people's faces, you kind of could tell by their eyes, and sometimes their eyes were not so happy."

There were no sad eyes to be seen at this Farmers Market, though. In fact, Pioneer Park was busy with thousands of people who came to shop and look around.

It was certainly a lot different from last year.

"We were way down in sales," said Dan Woodyatt, who owns Woodyatt Cherry Farms in Willard. "I only had one person working the booth, but today, there's no way one person could handle it. We're way busy today."

For small businesses, like the kinds of mom-and-pop shops who go to farmers markets, being busy feels good.

"Yes. Everything is going to be fine," said McBeth. "Everything is going back to normal now. It seems that way, so I have high hopes for the future, yes."

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Alex Cabrero
Alex Cabrero has been reporting for KSL-TV for nearly two decades. He has covered a variety of stories over the years from a variety of places, but he particularly enjoys sharing stories that show what's good in the world.

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