As she crossed the street Saturday morning, Susan Quaal could barely lug the huge armload of cut flowers she'd gotten at the first Downtown Farmers Market of the season.
"I just keep coming back every year," the Salt Lake resident said. "I enjoy the experience - the music, lots of friends who gather here. I like the social part of it, and I also enjoy the produce. It's a treat to come down here and then look forward to a big, fresh dinner salad on Saturday night."The market is in its sixth year, and each year new items are added. It will be held every Saturday at Pioneer Park, 300 South and 300 West, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Oct. 17.
Produce production has lagged a little this year due to the cold, wet spring, but there still were plenty of edibles for sale on Saturday including beets, cherries, herbs, garlic and other assorted home-grown produce. Also available were fresh flowers, gourds, baked goods, arts and crafts, salsa and more.
Carol Bliss of Lehi and her business partner, Julia Knittel, were selling handcrafted cottagelike birdhouses made of recycled materials.
"When we find somebody who's tearing down a fence, we say, `We'll do that,' " Bliss said. The sale of birdhouses, which range in price from $17.50 to $48, carries their business over until the raspberries are ready for sale.
Cheryl Card's dried floral arrangements made their Farmers Market debut this week, and she said they were well-received. "Two years ago, I was here with live plants. I've been designing (floral arrangements) for several years. I love to do it so I thought I'd give it a chance here."
Card, helped by daughter Can-dace, 15, and son Thomas, 9, grows 24 varieties of roses at her Sandy home along with many other types of flowers. "I hang them to dry, and they're all over my kitchen and laundry room."
Raising beautiful flowers runs in the family: Card is the daughter of Paul Engh who ran Alpine Nursery in Murray and granddaughter of Henry Engh, nicknamed Hank the Petunia King, who ran Engh Floral for many years.
Potted herbs and goat milk soap were among the offerings at the #1 Kids 4-H booth. "It's nicer and is more moisturizing than other soap," said Jeanette Drake of West Jordan, who has been a 4-H leader for 25 years. "Cleopatra bathed in goat's milk."
Her daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, milk goats on the family farm, as do the youngsters in 25 other families who are part of the 4-H club.
Taking part in the Farmers Market is good for the young people, Drake said, because they not only learn how to garden and take care of animals but also learn how to be entrepreneurs.
The market is sponsored by the Downtown Alliance and is the biggest outdoor produce market in the state. For information about what will be available, call the Farmers Market Hotline at 364-4885.