Yes, Virginia, there will be a farmers’ market in Waitsfield this summer, but it will be very different than the regular social gathering and shopping event that it has been in year’s past.
On Friday, April 24, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets issued guidelines for farmers’ markets to open as early as May 1. Governor Phil Scott noted at his press conference earlier that day that farmers’ markets would need to focus on food distribution rather than social gathering.
Lotty Roozekrans, manager of the Waitsfield Farmers’ Market, said that her board would be meeting on Tuesday, April 28, to talk about how the guidelines would be implemented.
The Waitsfield’s Farmers’ Market features many purveyors of prepared food as well as farmers, bakers, craftspeople and others. Market memberships for vendors cost $475 per year, she said, meaning the market will be losing some revenue this year when craftspeople and jewelers are not allowed to participate.
The guidelines detail general operating proceeds including the need to maintain proper social distancing, the ability for employees to access hand washing facilities and to wear masks. The guidelines all spell out property cleaning protocols.
All entertainment will be suspended at farmers’ markets this year, including the popular bandstand at the Waitsfield Farmers’ Market. Additionally, vendors are asked to provide online or phone preorder options and to discourage in-person shopping.
Food trucks and food vendors selling takeout and curbside fare are permitted to operate under the guidelines as long as mandatory health and safety standards are following, including social distancing, mask wearing, and washing and sanitizing are met.
Roozekrans and her board will be working on how to redesign the layout of the market to comply with social distancing and to reduce contact between people.