The coronavirus does not have any known impact on what grows in the ground and local farmers still have fresh produce to sell this summer. Many would typically share their harvest at farmers’ markets right around mid-June, but public gatherings such as these are not immune to pandemic-era sanctions.
Farmers Markets were allowed to open June 17 in accordance with phase two of the state’s reopening plan. However, since the nature of their existence falls under several different sectors, including outdoor events and food service, farmers and market organizers have some new measures to adhere to in order to serve their communities.
Bristol Farmers Market opened for the season last Saturday.
“I love the fresh produce and the baked goods,” city resident Emily Rivers told the Press. “I like buying local.”
More vendors and activities are expected to take place at the Bristol Farmers Market this July and August.
Meanwhile, the New Britain Farmers Market is expected to open for its fifth year in Central Park July 1.
Farmers like New Britain ROOTS and Dondero Farms out of Glastonbury will gather in the downtown park every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October 28.
Social distancing will be enforced, according to the city’s department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services.
“Our downtown Farmers Market located in beautiful Central Park has increased in popularity each year,” Director Erik Barbieri told the Herald earlier this month. “We encourage all residents and those working in the downtown area to come and purchase the freshest fruits and vegetables around.”
Residents with SNAP, WIC and EBT benefits can use them at the New Britain Farmers Market.
The Bristol Senior Center will begin distributing farmers market coupons mid-July to eligible residents aged 60 and older who meet income requirements. Coupon books contain $18 in market “cash” to be spent on fresh goods.
The Southington Farmers Market is set to begin Friday, July 3 from 3-6 p.m. and run every Friday through Aug. 28 on the Southington Green on Center Street.
Vendors will include Wave Hill Breads, Gresczyk Farms of New Hartford, Delectable Creations and others.
Greczyk is known for its healthy potted perennials, fresh herbs and vegetables.
For smaller gatherings like the Newington Farmers Market, the new conditions were just too much warrant a 2020 opening.
Market Master Pete Panzarella and his wife Maura Casey own a farm in North Franklin. Their farm is open, but they will not be running the Newington Farmers Market this season.
“The list of regulations were understandable and yet posed too much of a barrier,” Casey said. “Every vendor at the market last year has pulled out this year, so there is no market.”
Her hope is 2021 will bring back the Newington Farmers Market, which used to take place in Constitution Square on Saturdays.
“I feel pretty good about next year,” Casey said. “Maybe all this will be over with.”
The Berlin Farmers Market in Hungerford Park has also been canceled for 2020. Market organizers made the announcement on Facebook May 28.
“Unfortunately the Berlin Farmers Market will be closed this summer due to COVID-19,” they wrote. “Thanks to all for understanding… We want everyone to be safe.”
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.