My internship came to an end too soon, but I am so thankful for my time working for Ogallala Commons and the Teller County Farmers Market Association. During my experience I grew personally and in my community in more ways than I ever imagined. The majority of my internship was working at the farmers market on Friday’s. The other intern, Kayla Liller, and I aided in setting up the market, handing out tax folders to the vendors, with any problems that arose, and tearing down the market. One challenge I did face during these Fridays was when Kayla and Jane, our supervisor, were unable to make it and I was on my own to accomplish all of our tasks to keep the market running smoothly. I have been truly blessed with the market managers that I work with that it was simple to cover the missing help. On my own time, I put together a recipe book of recipes using ingredients from the market, went to market and farm to table dinner meetings, and visited one of our vendors’ farm and other markets to get new ideas for ours. While writing the recipe book, there were quite a few challenges that popped up, but none that didn’t get resolved. The hardest challenge was getting the recipes from the chefs preparing the markets farm to table dinner, but after talking to the chefs multiple times and visiting their restaurants to pick up the recipes, I managed to get them. Not only did it solve the problem for me, but through them getting recipes ready for me they were getting their recipes together so Judy, the market manager, could plan out what ingredients they would need and where to get them from.
Spending Fridays at the market was my favorite part of the experience. I got to know my community in so many ways. While handing out the tax folders every morning, we made an effort to talk to all the vendors and get to know them. This meant so much more to me than I thought it would have. Bon Bon Bombardier was a booth run by Jenny and Shawn who sell their homemade candies. Each week they let us try their new flavor and I spent a lot of time getting to know them. Being a huge fan of the whole grain breads from Great Harvest, I got to know Val, the student from CSU who was working for Great Harvest and going to markets for her summer job. Not only did I get to know the vendors, but through the market I got to know some of the chefs in Woodland Park. On September 10th, our market is hosting a farm to table dinner that is going to highlight the produce and foods we can purchase at the market in addition to other Colorado foods. For the dinner, the best chefs from restaurants in town have agreed to prepare the meal. Since I was putting together a recipe book I wanted to incorporate some of the recipes they are going to use for the dinner to commemorate our first farm to table dinner. Through that and attending the meetings with them I got to know them a little bit. When Whitney, one of the chefs, came to the market to see the food and brainstorm recipe ideas, I walked around with her and gave her a tour of the market. With all of these encounters and hearing so many peoples stories I have grown to have a new appreciation for Colorado, Woodland Park, and all they have to offer. The farm to table dinner intrigued me and I so wish I could stay because the concept made me much more aware to Colorado produce and how lucky we are to have that type of agriculture here when I did not think it was possible because of the elevation.
All of the wonderful market volunteers and managers
At the market we also had a live painter who came beginning in July. He would set up under the pavilion near the market manager tables and would paint about 3 pieces, usually portraits, each Friday. Since he was set up close to the managers, Kayla and I got to know him and he invited us to participate in a painting class. He is just setting up his studio in Woodland Park and wants to get classes going so Kayla and I were lucky enough to be part of his first class to help him work out any kinks. When looking for the commonwealth assets in my community earlier, I failed to find arts and culture, but it is there. I have never been particularly artistic, but I have realized that if I look for it, I can find it. The arts definitely have a presence in Woodland Park and I am glad I finally found it.
Mike Potts painting at the market Painting aspens during his class
Going into this internship I knew I was going to love it. When I was younger, my sisters and I were young entrepreneurs at the market and sold dog biscuits. Even then I got to know so many vendors and was looking forward to having that opportunity again. By keeping an open mind and loving the job I had helped me get the most out of this internship. It was never just going to work on Fridays. I looked forward to it each week. My recipe book project was also something I loved and didn’t view as work. It helped me see Colorado in a new light and taught me self discipline to work on my own time. Leaving the market early to head back to school is hard and while I do not want to leave, I am so thankful for everything they and Ogallala Commons has taught me.