If you’re planning to attend Saturday’s Farmington Farmers Market opening day, a word to the wise: Order ahead.
The May 16 event, modified due to COVID-19 safety concerns, will include just 14 vendors – seven farmers and seven businesses offering pre-packaged foods. Customers are encouraged to pre-order directly from them to speed the process, but pre-set packages will be available for those who walk up to the Walter E. Sundquist Farmington Pavilion and Riley Park in downtown Farmington.
Market volunteer Peggy Castine has been working with growers and vendors to set up the ordering page on the market website.
“There’s been such a varied reaction,” she said. “Some were already online and doing pre-orders, but a lot were not. They all responded in their own way. Some of the farmers said just have them give us a call.”
In addition to familiar growers – Goetz Farms, Brightmoor Farms Detroit, Fusilier Family Farms, Farm & Forest, and Great Lakes Permadynamics – the market welcomes first-timer Lake Divide Farm from Jackson County. Vendors include Droscha Sugarbush (maple syrup), Forest Treats (mushrooms), Mackinac Fish Mongers, People’s Pierogi, Tenera Grains, Triple B Honey, and U.P. Pasties.
While Castine said there’s some overall frustration, growers especially have taken “let’s see what happens” approach.
“That’s what farming is all about,” Castine said. “You never know from year to year what’s going to happen.”
Anyone coming in to pick up items should look for the clearly marked entrances on either side of Riley Park. With guidance from volunteers, shoppers will line up (with social distancing enforced) and visit vendors in the parking lot south of the pavilion. While no one really knows what to expect on Saturday, Castine said, pre-ordering will help move the process along.
“We’re taking the approach of not trying to make everybody happy, but making everybody healthy, not just with the virus, but also providing nutritious food that’s grown locally,” she said.
Other market changes include a requirement of only one shopper per household, and shoppers must wear masks. Vendors will provide bags; shoppers will not be allowed to use their own.
To view a list of Saturday vendors and place your order, visit farmingtonfarmersmarket.com/COVID-19-Updates/How-to-pre-order.aspx. Ordering deadlines vary, with some on Thursday and others on Friday.
More information about the market’s COVID-19 changes is posted at farmingtonfarmersmarket.com/COVID-19-Updates.aspx.