Heirloom Market Celebrates Official Grand Opening January 26th


Since early November folks have been gathering in the Floriculture Building at the Missoula County Fairgrounds, for a winter farmers’ market every Saturday to buy and sell local veggies, meat, baked goods and homemade wares.

Why a farmers’ market at the Fairgrounds? In the 1800’s, when it began, the Western Montana Fair represented not only social gathering and an opportunity for hard-earned amusement, but also a celebration of agricultural innovation which served as an educational venue for sharing the latest farming knowledge, techniques and equipment. The Heirloom Market is a step to move the fair closer to its roots in the celebration of agricultural bounty.

On January 26th, the Heirloom Market is holding its official Grand Opening to celebrate that they are open for business – and to distinguish themselves from the winter market on the other side of town.  The Heirloom Market is a grassroots community-supported venture to create a year-round a public marketplace in Missoula and extend the season for farm-direct sources with local and heirloom foods as well as local and regional artisans.

The market was organized by myself and {the heirloom project} a group of community volunteers working to connect people to where their food comes from. Folks come for local winter vegetables such as squash, kale, leeks, spinach, onions and potatoes, others come for the Italian sausage, specialty caramels, fruit preserves, honey,  soaps, jewelry, handmade art and fresh baked goods.  The Heirloom Market fills the same need as Missoula’s summer markets for getting out to see, taste and socialize while shopping in a way that supports local farmers and artisans.

So come celebrate with us as we host our Grand Opening, with live music by The Little Smokies, hands-on kids activities and warm beverages. Come in out of the cold and meet your friends, all while supporting our neighbors and the local economy.

The 411
What: Heirloom Market at the Farigrounds
Where: Floriculture Building, Missoula County Fairgrounds
When: Every Saturday 11am-2pm

What to make with those local winter squash that still abound? These recipes adapted from Artisanal Cooking by Terrance Brennan

Vanilla Mashed Winter Squash
Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds winter squash, cleaned and left a bit damp
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons cream
1/3 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Sea salt
White pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  • Put the winter squash on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until tender to a fork tip, about 1 hour.
  • Remove from oven and let cook until warm enough to handle, 10 to 15 minutes. Peel and discard the skin.
  • Put the winter squash in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.
  • Meanwhile, pour the cream into a 2-quart pot, add the vanilla bean and orange zest, if using, and set it over medium heat.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Use tongs to fish out and discard the vanilla bean.
  • Pour the mixture over the squash in the processor and add the butter.
  • Puree the squash mixture until smooth.
  • Season with salt and white pepper, or to taste.
  • Keep covered and warm until ready to serve.

Make this into a delicious soup by adding chicken stock or coconut milk!

Autumn Spice Oil
Makes 1 cup

4 star anise
1/2 tablespoon juniper berries
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon allspice
1 medium cinnamon stick, crushed, or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/3 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
2 pieces dried orange peel, optional
1 cup mild olive oil

  • Put the star anise, juniper berries, cardamom, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves in an 8-inch saute pan and toast over medium heat, shaking constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.
  • Transfer the spices to a spice or coffee grinder and pulse for a few seconds.
  • Transfer the spices to a bowl, add the vanilla bean and orange peel, if using, and set aside.
  • Pour the oil into a small pot and heat it over medium-low heat until warm.
  • Pour the oil over the spices and vanilla. Cover and let infuse at room temperature for 24 hours, periodically mixing the bowl.
  • Strain spice mixture.
  • Cover and keep at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Drizzle this over the Vanilla Mashed Winter Squash or on top of a winter squash soup.


Hungry for more from the Heirloom Foodie? Check out her posts preserving green beans for winter, making zucchini relish, and growing good eats in the Garden City.

   Visit the Heirloom Foodie archives.


Kristen Lee-Charlson is recognized for her food consulting knowledge, exceptional menus and passion for the local food system. She has hosted a variety of modern homemaking classes from cheesemaking to butchery. Recently she founded the Heirloom Principles a consulting agency for chefs, institutions and individuals for the sourcing of locally-produced and sustainably-raised products. She is an accomplished chef, caterer and home-cook. As a mother of four, she is dedicated to educating and empowering others about traditional food preparation and the joy and economy of eating local. Kristen is a strong advocate for a more localized and resilient food system. Daily she creates and consumes real food for her family including sauerkraut stomped by her children’s bare feet and eggs from her backyard hens. As an urban renaissance woman her ambition is to eat more local pastured pork.