Edible Bozeman

Kris Fitzgerald of Woods Rose Market Curates Area Products

Stepping into Woods Rose Market in Livingston is like walking along a wooded mountain path. At this local market, shoppers are surrounded by greenery and aromas of earth and vegetables in a space that is calm, tranquil, and full of life. It’s fitting, too, that the Woods’ rose (Rosa woodsii) is Montana’s native wild rose and is seen on almost every mountain path in the summer.

Located on the western edge of Livingston behind The Spur Line animal feed store, Woods Rose Market occupies a small building that owner Kris Fitzgerald renovated to create a space that is equal parts farm stand, apothecary, and plant nursery. As spring arrives, the three greenhouses emerge from dormancy as Fitzgerald plants starters from seed, arranges decorative flower baskets, hangs houseplants, and shelters decorative landscaping greenery.

Fitzgerald’s love of horticulture started in her home state of Vermont, where she studied plant and soil science in college and got her hands in the dirt at an organic farm. Upon moving to Montana in 2009, her first job was at Towne’s Harvest Garden in Bozeman managing the MSU student-run farm that emphasizes local community-supported agriculture and sustainable farm practices.

“I have always loved greenhouse production work—and tomatoes,” Fitzgerald says.

With this background and experience, Fitzgerald started her own landscaping and seedling business in Livingston that she called Woods Rose Landscaping. Through her business, Fitzgerald started to meet the local farmers and producers in the area. A chance encounter with a customer buying Fitzgerald’s tomato seedlings led to an opportunity to rent a small building with land for a greenhouse. While she now had the space to grow her own seedlings for the business, Fitzgerald also saw a need for something more.

Between Park and Gallatin counties, from Shields Valley to Paradise Valley, a diverse array of vegetables, fruits, animals, and crops are raised and grown. Fitzgerald wanted to find a way that she could operate as a local distributor. Today the fridges at Woods Rose Market are loaded with local meats from area producers, including chicken from Black Dog Farm, beef from Barney Creek Livestock, pork from Milkmaid Meats, and lamb from Wolf Ridge Icelandics. Fitzgerald can order animals whole and coordinates with the butcher on what cuts of meat she would like to off er at the shop.

The produce offerings are Montana regional depending on the season, but lettuce is bountiful any time of the year thanks to an increase in container farms that use hydroponics and aquaponics to grow all year long. When Fitzgerald needs to look further afield, Quality Foods Distributing and the Western Montana Growers Cooperative (a coalition of growers in the Flathead, Jocko, Mission, and Bitterroot valleys) help her source additional regional products.

“We have built trust with the local community, and people know now that the research we put into the products takes the guesswork out for them,” Fitzgerald says. It has been eight years since Fitzgerald opened the market and greenhouse doors and her passion for the business is still growing. Woods Rose Market has expanded to include CSA shares all year long, online ordering, and more land for a total of three greenhouses. Fitzgerald has also built a trusted staff and has learned to take time for herself. With a blooming business, the market’s foundation was built on growth and an idea that germinated into a flourishing asset for the local community.

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