The Farmington Farmers Market will make its traditional mid-May debut this year, but with a very non-traditional look and feel.
Market Master Walt Gajewski said new protocols in place on Opening Day, Saturday, May 16, emphasize safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. The market’s footprint is much smaller, with limited access to the grounds.
Shoppers will pre-order and pay for items directly from growers, then pick up them up on Saturdays. Only growers and a select group of vendors who sell pre-packaged foods will be on-site.
“We have a new layout and a new operating model in the interests of the public welfare and preserving the public trust,” Gajewski said. “It’s something we’ve looked at very carefully.”
In fact, the decision to open was made only a week ago, after research and consultation with the Michigan Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health, and Michigan Farmers Market Association. Gajewski said the goal is to bring fresh, local, nutrient-rich food to a community already looking for it.
“Farmers have told me they’ve been getting calls and emails from their Farmington customers,” he said.
Market day direction
Closer to opening day, Gajewski said, pre-order links to growers and vendors will be posted on the market website. Walk-ups will also be able to purchase items on market day, but only from limited “Farmer’s Choice” selections.
Vendors will set up in the parking lot on the south side of the Walter E. Sundquist Farmington Pavilion, with only one entrance and one exit. Plenty of signage and volunteers will smooth the process, Gajewski said.
For a full list of directions, visit farmingtonfarmersmarket.com/Welcome/The-do-s-and-don-ts.aspx
Four hand washing stations will be posted north and south of the pavilion, with restrooms open only for vendors and volunteers. Everyone will be wearing masks and gloves.
“It won’t be the shopping experience we’re all used to do, probably for the first few weeks,” Gajewski said. “A lot can happen in the next six months. Hopefully, somewhere in there will be the Farmers Market everyone is waiting for.”
“The market belongs to the people,” he added. “Your patience and your cooperation will go a long way toward getting the market off on the right foot.”