A family-owned daily newspaper serving Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming since 1949

The more the merrier

Jun 15, 2012 - By Steven R. Peck

Riverton's weekly downtown food fair is becoming more than a garden showcase

One hurdle for a farmers market-style produce fair in the springs is that there isn't much local produce yet, at least not in our part of the country.

It's a great testament to the concept of the Wednesday evening marketplace in downtown Riverton that it has been a success so early in the season.

Public participation has been just fine on the half block of North Broadway Avenue that is partitioned for a couple of hours each Wednesday so that local growers can show and sell their produce to residents eager to buy fresh, locally grown food.

There is going to be a lot more of that as the growing season continues. Even the lineup has expanded, and this month buyers can look forward to strawberries, for example, that weren't available when the event launched last month. With each passing week, the quantity and variety will increase as corn, squash, melons, grains, root vegetables and more become ready for harvest.

Meanwhile, a positive development downtown has been the growth of participation in areas other than garden produce. Buyers have been able to find premium popcorn, artisan bread, as assortment of pastries, and a lineup of cookies that we all wish we could grow on a vine but can't.

Recent Wednesday events also have featured a smattering of handmade gift and craft items, each with the unique touch of its creator. We probably can count on this aspect of the downtown street fair to grow as well, along with the lively entertainment offerings that have been experienced so far.

Some of this might not have been exactly what the original planners had in mind, but anyone who has organized public events knows that they can have an organic quality (now there's a term the local foodies would like) to them that can't always be predicted.

These events can grow and evolve in ways not always anticipated, and this is exactly what's happening in downtown Riverton -- and in a very good way.

The carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and pumpkins are growing as fast as they can, and soon they will provide a mouthwatering array on the downtown tables. Until then, thanks to the bakers, the artists and other creative people who have added their elements to this fledgling event each week.

Who knows exactly where this all might end up, but so long as the evolution is orderly, positive and in the general spirit of the "home-grown" theme, our attitude ought to be "the merrier."

See you next Wednesday.

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