Utah County farmers markets offer more than just produce

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The farmers markets in Utah County have been filled with students, families and other members of the community since summer 2021. As they continue into late October, the reasons people shop or just visit the markets vary. (Brittany Allen)

OREM — At the Orem Sunset Farmers Market, string lights twinkle between booths displaying hand-made art, jewelry, food, clothing and other goods. The sun colors the sky as it dips further behind the mountains. A man sings acoustic songs while playing his guitar as a crowd gathers around him.

The farmers markets in Utah County have been filled with students, families and other members of the community since summer 2021.

As they continue into late October, the reasons people shop or just visit the markets vary.

Breanna Fox, from Vineyard, recently graduated from UVU and has been attending the Orem Sunset Market on Wednesdays and the Provo Farmers Market on Saturdays. She likes to buy food from the vendor’s trucks and unique art pieces when she goes to the markets.

“I think my favorite part is mostly the art, I just like to come see small business owner art that I don’t know about, and so I find out about them through the markets,” Fox said.

Many vendors are original artists selling their hand-crafted pieces at the markets. One of them is Paola Bidinelli, from Italy. She creates unique art from materials others would consider trash.

Bidinelli has a project called “Eco Art Life”, which she explained means to “clean the planet with art.” She recovers thrown away objects like dying flowers from local stores and repurposes them to make beautiful art. She said she wants to do her part for the planet by being an eco-friendly artist.

Bidinelli also has another mission for her art. “I want to keep the identity alive of everything,” she said.

As people throw things away after using them for a while, Bidinelli said she wants to repurpose them under another vision. “Maybe people can reflect about the thing’s lifetime to just take more consideration of [it].”

While Bidinelli moved to the U.S. from Italy five years ago, and only just started selling at the markets, she has been making art for the last 30 years. She also runs a booth at the Springville Sunset Farmers Market on Mondays and the Provo market.

Utah County farmers markets feature vendors selling hand-made jewelry. (Brittany Allen)

People come to the markets for more than just original art. They look for hand-made jewelry too. 

Kylie Newell from Provo gave her first impression of the market after thinking it would only be full of produce. “I was excited when we stopped and saw every ring shop because they’re the type of rings I would actually buy,” she said.

While many vendors sell handmade rings, Kate Anderson, a 15-year-old from Riverton, also sells colorful earrings, necklaces, bracelets, keychains and embroidered tote bags. She started her handmade jewelry business two years ago and now is a vendor at the Orem market.

At the markets, vendors sell authentic cultural food, such as Mexican tacos and burritos, Indian curry, New Zealand burgers, Korean shaved ice, German baked goods and more.

Sydney Short, recent UVU graduate from American Fork, said she comes to the markets hungry. “I’m usually a food person,” she said. She likes to try new food she hasn’t had before, like pastries filled with Nutella and fruit.

Eric Huber, a BYU senior, comes to the market for more than just the delicious tacos sold there. “I love that it’s people and things they’re passionate about,” he said. “I love the feeling of supporting that.”

Even the vendors enjoy getting to know people through what they sell. Scott Davis, a chocolatiere from Springville, sells handmade bars of dark chocolate. 

While he said the markets are a great business incubator for new sellers, he thinks the coolest part about them is that one sees things they normally wouldn’t see, like handcrafted products. “They can tell you about how they made [them], so it’s really kind of an experience,” Davis said.

BYU student Heidi Bradshaw from Salt Lake City also enjoys seeing what people create, what they love to do and selling what they make. While she often buys the fresh peaches sold at the markets, she says she has fun partaking in people-watching.

The farmers markets in Orem, Provo and Springville bring a large amount of joy to the community’s attendees. Vendors will continue selling their handcrafted products at the markets through October.

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