Area Farmers Markets Make Adjustments in Response to COVID-19

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By: 
Michelle Phillips
File photos from the 2018 Greenway Station Farmers Market.

SOUTH CENTRAL WISCONSIN–Farmers markets are beginning to crop up are around the region, but with a few changes and restrictions in place to accommodate for safety in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Greenway Station Farmers Market Manager Cheryl Heck said the market has worked out ways to social distance, sanitize and keep people safe. She said plans are to tentatively open the market the first Thursday in June. 

The market, which Heck said has been in operation for about 20 years, has looked at placing vendors back to back with guests going around the outside perimeter of the market, or possible using a longer span of the parking lot, which is located on Greenway Boulevard on the south end of Greenway Station. Vendors will have masks and gloves and hand sanitizing stations. The market goers will also move in a one-way direction through the market.

In addition, Heck said items will be prepackaged or packaged for the customers. 

Heck said she hopes shoppers will wear protective gear as well. “I am encouraging masks and gloves, but not requiring it,” she said, and included that customers would be expected to maintain a six foot distance from others.

All of the changes were at the recommendation of the health department, Heck added. 

She said that the market will run until the end of October, and is every Thursday from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

Applications to sell at the market are available at: https://www.reddevelopment.com/greenway-station/events/. Heck said she is looking for an egg vendor for the season.

The Mt. Horeb farmers market kicked off its 2020 season on May 7, in its usual location on the lawn of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The market is operating differently for the foreseeable future because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The vendors are set back away from the sidewalk and the whole market is cordoned off. Customers are asked to enter at the east end, then to proceed to each vendor they wish to buy from in the order they encounter them, and then to exit at the west end. Only one person at a time can approach each vendor. Farmers market staff members will regulate the number of people inside the market so that it will be easy to maintain six foot distances from each other.

In previous years the market has been a lighthearted event where, in addition to buying good, healthy food from local farmers and producers, people socialized, listened to music; or just enjoyed a lovely afternoon. This year the market managers have reluctantly had to take steps to discourage people from socializing or lingering. The market has been reduced down to its most essential purpose–connecting the community with local farmers to buy fresh, healthy food  For the time being, there will be no music and no community events.

In an additional step to enable people to make purchases from their favorite farmers while spending a minimum of time at the market, the market's website and Facebook page will have links to individual vendors who have the ability to take orders online, take payments online, and then have the product all packaged and ready for quick pick up at the market. Purchases can, of course, still be made from vendors in person at the market.

All vendors are required to wear face masks and customers are encouraged to do so as well. There will be hand washing stations for vendors and customers at the market. Vendors will not be able to accept any used egg cartons, bags, or bottles. No food samples will be available.

Finally, the market managers state that it is most important that anyone feeling at all sick not attend the market.

For more information visit the Mt. Horeb Farmers Market Facebook page or inquire by email at mthorebfarmersmarket@gmail.com.

The Spring Green Farmers Market continues to serve as a central source for local food. Currently, customers can order directly from farmers and producers and pick up their orders on May 23, from 10-11 a.m. in the Spring Green Community Library parking lot. 

Products vary, but customers can expect to have available a wide variety of pastured and organic meats, farm fresh eggs, artisan bread and homemade pastries, preserves, and seasonal vegetables. For a list of participating farms, visit the Spring Green Farmers Market Facebook or Instagram pages. Alternatively, email sgfarmersmarket@gmail.com for a list of participating farms.

The Spring Green Farmers Market will begin the regular outdoor season on May 30, exact hours to be determined. As usual, the market will take place every Saturday morning in the Spring Green Community Library parking lot. All recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local public health officials will be implemented.

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