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I am standing at the edge of the newly-formed Homegrown on Tejon market, looking down the sidewalk at a modest and friendly array of local gardeners who carry on friendly conversation with shoppers.
I hold up and inspect a bag full of bright yellow flower pockets. "You must try the squash blossoms," Ceil Horowitz tells me emphatically.
Ceil continues regarding the squash blossoms. "You can stuff them with goat cheese and fry them. They are delicious." I buy two bags.
Ceil is just one of the dozen local backyard gardeners and micro-farmers who have helped launch Homegrown on Tejon. She has a large garden in her backyard in Old Colorado City, and wants to give residents a place where they can buy food grown locally.
I walk a bit farther and greet Andy Finn and his children. They are selling produce from their backyard garden on the north edge of downtown Colorado Springs: Finn Family Farm. The kids know every herb, green, and vegetable. They tell me what everything costs, and help their dad bag my purchase. Smiles abound.
Farther down the street, the Dragonfly Farm table is stocked with some of the brightest greens, root vegetables, and onions I have seen. John Ferris and Steve Hitchcock started Dragonfly Farm in Fountain this year. They are farming a small plot of less than three acres, but deliver a beautiful offering to Homegrown on Tejon each Monday morning. They grow their vegetables without any pesticides or chemicals.
In fact, every farmer who signs up to sell at Homegrown must sign an agreement stating that their vegetables and fruits are chemical free. Founded this year as a project of the Colorado Springs Conservation Corps, Homegrown on Tejon gives vending space free of charge, for small, local growers to sell their produce and talk with people about growing their own food.
The Conservation Corps is a local nonprofit that is committed to helping people make the small, inexpensive changes that can save energy, water and money. Buying local, healthy, delicious food is a major component of that mission.
Founded by former city-councilman Richard Skorman in 2008, the Corps will run the market every Monday, across the street from Poor Richards, from 10-1, until the middle of October.
Homegrown on Tejon, tucked into this urban setting, is unlike any other market I have frequented in Colorado Springs. Under the brick awnings of 321 N. Tejon, I walk from the hot summer sun into a cool and breezy space that boasts gorgeous food and friendly folks.
In this year of growing awareness about the current state of our economy and health, Homegrown on Tejon offers a place to not only buy healthy and delicious food, but also to meet and greet my neighbors who can delight in the edible wonders of a vegetable garden with me.
Back home the next day, we attempt the fried squash blossoms. Easy and fun to make, they also tasted delicious. A great summer treat-like Homegrown on Tejon.