Market Matters

All You Need to Know About Local Farmers' Markets

Produce so fresh you have to scrape off the dirt, a jittery sugar-high from melon-sized cupcakes, and that necklace with the elephant you just can't resist. Summer is the season of farmers' markets, and with five unique markets in the area, any intrepid marketer can be kept busy for most of the week. Here's a rundown of what you can expect from each one. 

Rockin' TJ Ranch

When: Mondays 5-8pm, June 10-Sept. 2

Venue: Rockin' TJ Ranch is located off Huffine, about 3 miles west of the mall. With manicured lawns that open onto a Hyalite Creek beach and the Bridgers looming in the distance, this is one of the most picturesque places to enjoy a beer and some grub and chill out with friends.

Offering: This is the first year of operation, so the actual market only has about 10 vendors. Of those in attendance, most have handicrafts and homemade goods like honey and jam.

For Kids: Rockin’ TJ Ranch knocked the kid category out of the park. They offer bouncy castles, croquet, games in the grass, and kid-sized saddles to channel miniature buckaroos.

Music: The live music is low-key and relaxing, with a grassy stage right in the middle of the crowd. Check out local bands One Leaf Clover and Do it Kappa later this summer. Shakespeare in the Parks will perform The Recruiting Officer at the last market of the season.

Bogert Market

When: Tuesdays 5-8pm, June 4-Sept. 24

Venue: Centered in the middle of downtown, this market is a convenient stop for most Bozemanites.  Most vendors are located under the pavilion, so you’ll be a happy shopper regardless of the weather.

Offering: The artisans and farmers at Bogert are greatly varied. Produce lines the east side of the pavilion and ranges from homegrown lettuce to artisan-crafted bread. The rest of the market is a bustling variety of local crafts and international offerings.

For Kids: There are plenty of options for the younger crowd. Kids can rope up on a climbing wall, pet the wooly llamas, and play on the jungle gym.

Music: The bandshell at Bogert is an awesome venue for local groups. Catch the City Band perform eight times over the summer, and other local groups strut their stuff every week.

Livingston Market

When:  Wednesdays 4:30-7:30pm, June 5-Sept. 25

Venue: Located in the gorgeous Sacagawea Park, this market has spectacular views and waterfront property on the Yellowstone River. Everything is open to the elements, so be prepared for weather changes and pity the sunburned vendors.

Offering: The atmosphere feels similar to the Bogert market, but most of the vendors in Livingston hail from their side of the pass, while the Bogert vendors stick to our side... hit up both for maximum variety. A surprising number of food trucks park it here, including a brick-oven pizza truck and a bakery truck from Belgrade.

For Kids: While there are no specific activities set up for the little ones in Livingston, Sacagawea Park has many places to play. The market is typically overrun with children, so bring the kids along and let them entertain each other.

Music: With the bandshell in the middle of the action, music is a key part of this market. Local musicians clamor to perform here—later in the summer check out 10 Foot Tall & 80 Proof and the Prairie Wind Jammers.

Gallatin Valley Market

When: Saturdays 9am-12pm, June 22-Sept. 14

Venue: This market sets up shop in the Gallatin County Fairground’s ice rink and surrounding grassy lawn. With both indoor and outdoor space, there is a lot of variability and opportunity for growth. This is by far the most expansive market in the area.

Offering: Even though this is the second market in Bozeman, there is little overlap between vendors. Vendors come from farther away, bringing flathead cherries and Hutterite produce. Some even dress in costumes of “traditional Montanans.” You'll find more art-centered offerings, as opposed to the dinner party at Bogert.

For Kids: There are no specific kids' activities, but there are plenty of kids with an active role in the market. Some have stands, some are performing, and all are running around having a good time. 

Music: The design of this market is more sprawling, with no central stage. There were individual musicians throughout the maze of booths, but no designated space to sit and enjoy your spoils while listening to tunes. 

Big Sky Market

When: Wednesdays 5-8pm, July 10-September 4

Venue: Located in the Big Sky Village, this market brings together the Big Sky community. Most of the booths are on the grass, making for easy walking between vendors. The semi-circle of road around the center is also packed with vendors. The market this year has 110 vendors, so there's something for everyone.

Offerings: This market definitely belongs to the artists. While there are some produce stands, the vibe here feels like an art fair. Check out hand-carved furniture, handmade knives, and hand-dyed silk scarves. The Duncan Hutterite colony also brings some spectacular produce for the grocery shoppers.

For Kids: Kids have the chance to jump on a bouncy castle, play with a dude in a bear suit, and enjoy some icy treats. With plenty of space to run, this market is definitely kid-friendly. Just make sure to keep track of the little ones—the area gets packed.

Music: Both local and out-of-town musicians grace the Big Sky stage. Colorado band Bluebird Sky was recently featured, and exciting new acts play each week.

All in all, there's something for everyone. Whether you're looking for fresh produce, local baked goods, or a new pair of snazzy earrings, tour these markets and don't expect to walk away with much money. Many vendors accept credit/debit cards, but be sure to carry cash in case there's something you simply can't resist from a cash-only booth.

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