Author: Amber Gibson

Fort Collins, Colorado, affectionately known to locals by its nickname, FoCo, is a magnet for people who love outdoor activities. The area in which it is located boasts natural resources that provide opportunities for hiking, skiing, swimming, boating, fishing and rock climbing, and 300 days of sunshine a year in which to enjoy those activities. Medium-sized and manageable, with a population of just under 168,000 people, Fort Collins is only an hour-long drive from Denver, so it’s a perfect weekend getaway for big city dwellers looking for beautiful surroundings.

In addition to the breathtaking Horsetooth Reservoir, natural prairie areas and other open spaces, Fort Collins is known for having a surfeit of farmers markets – far more than one would expect for a town of its size. Most of them are staged out of doors and all of them are popular with both local residents and visitors.

Is it possible to buy CBD oil products from farmers markets in the Fort Collins area?

farmers market

CBD oil can legally be sold in Colorado?

Sales of hemp/CBD products are legal throughout Colorado. Vendors selling or distributing ingestible hemp/CBD products such as oils, tinctures, extracts, supplements and food containing CBD must have a business license and a tax license.

So CBD oil is legally allowed to be sold in Fort Collins at special events like farmers markets, but is it being sold at them?

The answer to that question depends, in part, on whether or not the CBD oil was produced in Colorado or whether the hemp from which it was extracted was grown in the state. That’s because Fort Collins farmers markets, like those across the nation, stress the local nature of their offerings. These regularly occurring events began by selling fresh-off-the farm or fresh-from-the-garden produce. Although the product range widened over time to include non-agricultural elements – in Fort Collins as elsewhere – finding a specific product like CBD oil is not guaranteed.

CBD oil availability varies

It is also difficult to say with certainty that a particular Fort Collins farmers market on a specific day will have CBD oil for sale because of 1) the coronavirus pandemic and 2) the intermittent scheduling of vendors. Even though most farmers markets are outdoor gatherings, and thus, somewhat safer to shop at than enclosed stores, many have been affected by government-imposed lockdowns aimed at reducing the number of new Covid-19 cases. As a result, some farmers markets started much later this year than usual, which affected vendor schedules. Another factor – and one not affected by the pandemic – is that not every vendor participates in every session. Transporting goods and staffing a booth takes both time and effort away from other sales channels, so some vendors may opt to only make occasional, strategically timed appearances at these markets. For instance, the Larimer County Farmers Market that is profiled below features about 60 vendors each week, but 100 each season. That means that the CBD oil seller you’re looking for may have been at your market the previous week, but not during the week you choose to go.

A look at the major FoCo markets shows both of these influences on CBD oil availability.

Colorado-only goods allowed

The Colorado Agricultural Marketing Cooperative (CAMC), which runs Fort Collins Farmers Market at Harmony and Lemay Streets, has been around since 1984. It was formed by local agricultural producers as a way of marketing their goods directly to consumers as well as promoting the local manufacture of commodities. You can only buy Colorado-grown produce and products at the three CAMC farmers markets, which are in operation every Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday from May through mid-November. As with many other farmers markets, what began primarily as a produce operation has expanded to include prepared foods like salsa and green chili sauces sold in jars, caramel corn, spiced pecans and walnut-spinach paste as well as non-food items such as pottery, essential oils and skin care lotion. Because the application process is open to vendors on an ongoing basis, it is possible that you could find CBD oil at this farmers market – provided it has the Colorado connection that is required. A selection of vendors’ product descriptions and websites is available through the Fort Collins Farmers Market website, so you can order some items online.

The CAMC has also taken over management of the Drake Road Farmers Market. This small and friendly venue on the west side of Fort Collins runs Saturdays from mid-April through September. The produce is mostly from Colorado, and the inclusion of jewelry, art, crafts, body care items and other non-food items means that sellers of CBD oil may participate. Because of the pandemic, this market got a late start this year and didn’t hold its first sale date until June 20. That has affected vendor participation.

Two locations, lots of variety

The Fort Collins Winter Farmers Market, which was founded in 2006, operates in two different locations; on North College Avenue in the city’s Opera Galleria and in the Masonic Temple on Oak Street. Like the CAMC market, the Winter Farmers Market emphasizes locally grown and made food, crafts and art. The range of products available at these markets is expansive – it includes everything from handmade pierogi, baked goods, curated beef boxes, herbal tea, handmade greeting cards, and mermaid and unicorn objects. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the remainder of the Winter Market season has been cancelled. Waitlist only vendor applications are currently being accepted, so it is not possible to predict whether or not CBD oil will be sold through at these events when they resume.

A University connection

The Larimer County Farmers Market (LCFM) began in 1975 when some backyard gardeners got together and formed a plan to share their excess produce with their community. From those modest origins grew the LCFM, a long-established, thriving, open-air market in Fort Collins’ Old Town area that hasn’t lost its community flavor. Managed by Colorado State University Extension staff, the LCFM runs weekly from mid-May through late October and averages about 60 vendors each week who sell fruits, vegetables, coffee, flowers, baked goods, art, and crafts. It is a growers-only market, which means that all products offered must be grown, produced, or made by local vendors – including CBD oil.

An online farmers market

There’s also the Northern Colorado Virtual Farmers Market (NOCOVFM), which was begun in March of 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. NOCOVFM is a service for people who want to support local farmers, artists and makers by enabling the sales of locally grown produce and handmade products during the pandemic. Customers can browse through online stores, make their selections and have their goods delivered or pick them up during a designated time.

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