Farmers’ market in downtown Medina opens for season, with Covid-19 precautions in place
Market changes hours for 2020, open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays
MEDINA – Blue skies and sunshine greeted visitors to Medina’s Canal Village Farmers’ Market last Saturday.
Chris Busch, president of Orleans Renaissance Group, which sponsors the market, said market volunteers and vendors were happy to be back for the summer season, and welcomed many regular and new customers.
“The market looks essentially the same, with the customary colorful canopies and vendor tables,” Busch said. “However, Covid-19 has forced a few new protocols that differ from years past, and upon a closer look, some changes are evident.”
One noticeable change, not related to Covid-18, is the hours of operation. The market now starts one hour later, at 9 a.m., and closes one hour later, at 2 p.m.
“Over the past several years, we’ve studied our trends and customers have asked if the market could remain open later to allow better access,” said market manager Gail Miller. “We hope these new hours make it possible for more people to come to the market.”
Other changes are definitely Covid-related, Busch said.
“The market has two identified entrances this year to greet customers, offer hand sanitizer and explain our market guidelines,” Miller said. “Being an open air market makes it safer than being in an enclosed space. When everyone comes through the entrances, we are able to ensure there are not too many people in the market at the same time, so maintaining social distancing requirements is easy.”
Market personnel and vendors emphasize if anyone is sick, they should please stay home.
Face masks are required to enter into the market, and vendors and staff are also required to wear face masks at all times. Customers are encouraged to move quickly around the market.
Miller said that on opening day, patrons were very kind and responsible about following the new guidelines.
Vendors still have their products on display, allowing customers to see what is available and ask questions. But only vendors and their staff are allowed to handle products. Customers point to what they would like to purchase and the vendor helps them.
Social distancing is also required, with customers maintaining a six-foot distance from vendors’ stands, staff and other customers. Reminders are positioned around the market.
Food demos are not allowed this year. Food items available for purchase must be treated as take-out and consumed off the premises.
“Farmers’ markets everywhere have worked hard over the years to encourage people to gather, linger, eat and converse as a community, but unfortunately we can’t do any of that right now,” Miller said. “But we look forward to the day when we can again have the market as a gathering place. Until then we will abide by the state rules and guidelines for a safe environment.”
Miller said products available each Saturday are listed every week on the market’s Facebook page at Canal Village Farmers’ Market.
“As the season progresses, we will have our usual wide variety of offerings, including vegetables and fruit, beef and pork products, pies and cookies, vegetable, herb and flower plants and face masks, in addition to a different local winery, meadery or distillery each week,” Miller said.
Miller said state guidelines initially prohibited some vendors, such as artists and crafters, but that has recently changed.
“Current modifications to state guidelines now allow artists and crafters, so we will definitely be adding them back at the market, starting this Saturday,” Miller said.
For anyone who is uncomfortable coming into the market, has a mobility issue or just needs to be in and out quickly, there are new options available, Miller said.
“An online pre-order option will be available very soon,” she said. “This will enable a customer to select from vendor products offered online. The process will be very simple and user friendly. They just need to go to the online store, open an account, select products and pay in cash only when they pick up their order at the back of the market building between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. The market’s Facebook page will announce further details soon.”
Miller said while most market transactions continue to use cash, several vendors are able to accept cashless transactions on site.
The market accepts Senior Coupons, WIC, SNAP and Fresh Connect Checks and will soon be able to offer Double Up Food Bucks to SNAP recipients. More information is available in at the Market Manager’s tent.