OREM – At the Orem Sunset Farmers Market, string lights twinkle between the stalls showcasing artwork, jewelry, food, clothing, and other handmade goods. The sun colors the sky as it plunges further behind the mountains. A man sings acoustic songs while playing his guitar as a crowd gathers around him.
Utah County Farmers Markets have been filled with students, families and other community members since the summer of 2021.
While they continue until the end of October, the reasons people shop or simply visit the markets vary.
Breanna Fox, from Vineyard, is a recent UVU graduate and attended the Orem Sunset Market on Wednesdays and the Provo Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. She enjoys shopping for food from the vendor’s trucks and unique artwork when she goes to the markets.
“I think my favorite part is mostly art, I just love coming to see the art of small business owners that I don’t know, and so I find them in the markets,” Fox said.
Many vendors are original artists selling their handicrafts in the markets. One of them is Paola Bidinelli from Italy. She creates unique works of art from materials others would consider waste.
Bidinelli has a project called “Eco Art Life”, which she says means “cleaning the planet with art”. She collects items discarded as dying flowers from local stores and reuses them to make beautiful art. She said she wanted to do her part for the planet by being an eco-friendly artist.
Bidinelli also has another mission for his art. “I want to keep the identity of everything alive,” she said.
As people throw away items after using them for a while, Bidinelli said she wants to reuse them under another vision. “Maybe people can think about the lifespan of the thing just to take more into consideration [it]. “
While Bidinelli left Italy for the United States five years ago and just started selling in the markets, she has been making art for 30 years. She also has a stall at the Springville Sunset Farmers Market on Mondays and the Provo Market.
People come to the markets for more than original art. They are also looking for handmade jewelry.
Provo’s Kylie Newell gave her first impression of the market after thinking it would only be filled with products. “I was excited when we stopped and saw every ring store because these are the type of rings I would actually buy,” she said.
While many vendors sell handmade rings, Kate Anderson, 15, from Riverton, also sells colorful earrings, necklaces, bracelets, key chains and embroidered tote bags. She started her handmade jewelry business two years ago and is now a seller at Orem Market.
In the markets, vendors sell authentic cultural dishes, such as Mexican tacos and burritos, Indian curry, New Zealand burgers, Korean shaved ice, German baked goods, and more.
Sydney Short, a recent UVU graduate from American Fork, said she came to the markets hungry. “I’m generally a food person,” she said. She enjoys trying new dishes that she has never eaten before, like pastries filled with Nutella and fruit.
Eric Huber, a BYU senior, comes to the market for more than the delicious tacos sold there. “I like that it’s the people and the things that they are passionate about,” he said. “I like the feeling of supporting this.”
Even salespeople like to get to know people through what they are selling. Scott Davis, a chocolate maker from Springville, sells handmade dark chocolate bars.
While he said that markets are a great business incubator for new sellers, he thinks the coolest part about them is that you see things that they normally wouldn’t see, like artisanal products. “They can tell you how they did [them], so it’s really kind of an experience, ”Davis said.
Heidi Bradshaw, a student at BYU in Salt Lake City, also enjoys seeing what people create, what they love to do, and sell what they make. While she often buys the fresh peaches sold in the markets, she says she enjoys people watching.
The Orem, Provo and Springville Farmers’ Markets bring great joy to community participants. Vendors will continue to sell their handicrafts in the markets until October.