When most people think of farmers’ markets they believe them only to be open during the summer months, yet many of them stay open well into October. Southeastern Colorado has a number of established farms and markets to choose from, especially if you’re looking for that last-minute Halloween pumpkin. Particularly of interest are the regions long-standing family farms’ markets. Here’s a look at just a few.
Musso Farms actually started out when current owner Carl Musso’s great-grandparents and grandparents sold their produce door-to-door in Pueblo. The establishment’s farm market – off Business U.S. 50 at 35779 Hillside Road – opened in the late 1960s, Musso said, adding that his son represents the fifth generation of the family-owned business, which derives all of its income from the market.
The Mussos sell a wide variety of produce. Among the items on hand are Pueblo Chiles, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, green beans, corn, pinto beans, strawberries, and cantaloupes. The family also sells homemade salsa and spaghetti sauce, and potatoes grown in the San Luis Valley.
The market also offers a unique experience for families with such features as a horse-drawn cart that takes visitors to the farm’s pumpkin patch and a corn pit for children to jump around in. There is also face painting and other activities. The market is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and closes in November.
Also in Pueblo County, Kasey DiTomaso said roughly 80 percent of her family farm’s income for the month of October comes from its farm market off Business Route 50. “In September it’s a little higher,” she added.
The DiTomaso family farm, which was started by Kasey DiTomaso’s great-great-grandfather in 1918, will continue selling Pueblo Chiles, cucumbers and other fresh, farm-grown vegetables until the first frost. The market features a pumpkin patch for the kids and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The DiTomasos also sell preserves and local honey.
When it comes to longevity, it’s hard to beat DiSanti Farms. The DiSantis have been farming the Mesa since 1890 albeit four miles west of the farms current location south of Business U.S. 50 at 29114 South Road,.
Dominic DiSanti represents the fifth generation of DiSanti farmers. He said that in October the family’s farm market offers onions, Pueblo Chiles, a variety of winter squashes and other produce. The market also has a you-pick pumpkin patch. Jams, jellies, preserves, local honey, and local cherry juice round out the market’s offerings.
Fresh Pueblo Chiles will be on sale at the market, DiSanti said, up until a week after the first frost, but the market usually closes on Halloween. The market also offers baked goods on weekends. Its hours of operation in early October are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but the hours are curtailed later in the month, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Like the others, DiSanti says the market is responsible for most of the DiSanti family’s income.
The La Veta Farmers Market, which operates in front of the town’s library on 310 S Main St., has been serving the small Huerfano County community for eight years and offers produce grown mostly on two local farms. Among the fruits and veggies available are: carrots, garlic, onions, leafy greens, micro-greens, squash, pumpkins, beets, radishes, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, plums, peaches, and apples.
The market, which is open on Thursdays from 3 to 5:30 p.m. until Oct. 17, also has jams, jellies, granola, fudge, pies and other baked goods, candy, honey, eggs, soap, bread, skin-care products, plants, medallions, grass-fed meats, and assorted handcrafted items.
The market also provides a two-for-one produce program for low-income families.
If you are interested in taking a family road trip to Otero County, Knapps Farm Market off County Road 71 offers a variety of autumn produce including pumpkins, winter squash, “and whatever we have left from our summer produce,” said Gail Knapps, who owns Knapps Farm along with her husband, Brian. The couple represents at least the third generation of the family-owned farm.
Those who plan the trek to Rocky Ford should do so quickly because the market usually closes in mid-October. Last year, the market lasted until Oct. 15.
Knapps said only a small portion of her farm’s income comes from the market, which is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.