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SALT LAKE CITY -- At 8:00 Saturday morning, the Downtown Farmers Market opens for its 17th season. For many people, it's a regular summer tradition to shop for fresh produce, meats, cheeses and handicrafts.
This year, organizers expect 8,000 to 10,000 shoppers each week. More growers are bringing their products to market, along with craft people and food vendors.
"About 250 vendors in all, plus a bike valet, plus performances -- we've got music at the marketplace. So it's just grown into a really big festival, much more than a traditional farmers market," said Jason Mathis, executive director of the Downtown Alliance.
The produce, of course, is the big draw. "About 80 farmers will be here and, of course, that grows through the summer as more and more produce becomes available," said Mathis.
This year, as more produce is ready for market, a Harvest Market will run every Tuesday night from 4:00 to 8:00, from August through October. "That's going to give downtown commuters a chance to experience the farmers market. That's going to be only produce," said Mathis.
The Farmers Market also gets some credit for helping to revitalize Pioneer Park and breathe new life into the neighborhood. "When the farmers market started, Pioneer Park was really a scary place, but look around me now. It's a beautiful park," said Mathis.
A half dozen businesses in the area got their start at the Farmers Market after they discovered how well they could sell.
The Farmer's Market continues through October, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday. There is parking around the park, but that can go quickly. Organizers encourage people to take public transportation or ride their bikes. There's a free bike valet if that's your transportation.