Fresh vegetables, baked goods and preserves grown and prepared at the hands of a Hutterite colony are drawing crowds in Black Diamond and Turner Valley every Saturday.
The Riverbend Colony near Mossleigh is hosting a weekly market, selling a wide selection of food at the Dr. Lander Memorial Swimming Pool parking lot in Turner Valley from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and the Black Diamond municipal office parking lot from noon to 4 p.m.
The market began June 20 and will run into September.
“For now we will try this and see how it works,” said Dennis Decker of the Riverbend Colony. “It’s a new market for us so we want to see how it goes. This year will determine what we do next year.”
The Riverbend Colony brought the market to Turner Valley for the first time, but it’s not the first time the colony has sold vegetables in town.
Decker said his grandfather used to go door to door selling vegetables in the Foothills community.
“That was about 30 years ago,” he said.
Last spring, Decker called the town office in each community to get permission to host a market on Saturdays, and was given the green light.
“I’ll be here every weekend and sometimes I will have different helpers,” he said.
On June 27, Decker has the help of Sarah Gross and seven-year-old Sheldon Decker.
“Our vegetables are always fresh,” said Gross, beaming with pride. “Every week we have something different.”
Decker said the vegetables are typically picked on Fridays.
The colony also hosts a market at the Speargrass Golf Course near Carseland on Wednesdays and on the colony property regularly, which attracts people from the Mossleigh area.
The June 27 selection includes pickled beans, sweet pickles, pizza sauce, honey, eggs, cinnamon buns, buttered buns, bread, spinach, kale, green onions and beets.
Other items shoppers can expect throughout the season include pies, cookies, salsa, peas, carrots and corn on the cob, said Gross.
Decker said members of the colony began planting their vegetables in early May, getting a head start on the season.
“We plant as early as we can and cover our vegetables to protect them from the frost,” he said.