The Bayfield Farmers Market, which has run for more than 30 years, did not open this summer, primarily because of licensing issues for vendors, said market administrator Jacqui Day.
The market, located on U.S. Highway 160 east of County Road 501, typically includes about 10 vendors who sell baked goods, produce and craft items. Day said she is uncertain if the decades-old market will reopen in 2021.
“The market did not open as scheduled because there were not enough vendors that had their license to begin,” Day said.
Bayfield’s other market, the Bayfield Downtown Farmers Market, closed in 2019 because of a lack of vendors. The downtown market, located on Mill Street, was part of the town’s downtown revitalization effort aiming to draw more visitors to shops and restaurants on Mill Street.
“When vendors go to the town and they are blindsided with all these new requirements ... we don’t have time to get that stuff,” Day said.
Bayfield has not implemented new town licensing or processing requirements, said Katie Sickles, town manager. She said vendors who are interested in selling items at farmers markets need to first make sure they comply with state business requirements, particularly establishing themselves as a cottage food vendor.
The Colorado Cottage Food Act allows vendors to sell selected foods to the public – without licensing or inspections – if they meet certain restrictions and training requirements, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. That means some licensing steps, like registering with the Colorado secretary of state, are optional for small farmers market vendors depending on what items they sell.
The town portrayed them as necessary, Day said, which adds a barrier of entry for small vendors.
Bayfield has one additional license vendors must obtain, called a transient dealer license, that has been in place since 2014. The license costs $25 and takes 10 to 14 days to process.
Day does not plan to continue as administrator of the market, saying she has “grown weary with the new challenges each and every year.”
Sickles said the town is supportive of farmers markets. They provide a sense of community, access to fresh food and business opportunities for the agricultural community.
“I am an advocate of farmers markets,” she said.
“I think it’s important to know your neighbors and know where your food comes from. ... When you go to a farmers market, you see new things, and you get to experience a variety of vegetables, fruits and herbs.”