Local farmers markets are excited to have opening dates set for this month, as businesses across the state and country have started to reopen after weeks of uncertainty because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Springfield Farmers Market will begin its 14th summer season Saturday, June 13, serving customers between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
“Unfortunately, the COVID regulations are going to be the main new thing to start with,” says Camaren Sloan, who has served as events manager for the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau for four years but has been involved with the Springfield Farmers Market for eight. “We just want to provide an overall safe environment for customers and vendors.
“We are not going to have music, food trucks, demonstrations and other things you’ve seen to start out,” she adds. “We will have about 15 vendors to start out, then hopefully in mid-July we can expand the market. We’re just happy we can have a market.”
The Springfield Farmers Market will run every Saturday during through Sept. 20 in the brick alley between The Heritage Center and the new COhatch - The Market.
The New Carlisle Farmers Market will open June 27. It’s eighth season will run Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Sept. 26 in its new location in the parking lot of the CVS at 201 S. Main St., New Carlisle. The venue shift will help vendors and visitors follow social distancing regulations.
In past years, the market has featured vendors lining the sidewalks along Main Street. The market’s Head Organizer Michael Maxwell says by moving to the CVS lot, the market won’t be limited to fewer vendors and will be able to stay downtown, which will hopefully still drive shoppers to visit the many locally-owned businesses in the area.
“We’re trying to eliminate the congestion this year because of the COVID,” Maxwell says. “There will be plenty of places of interest, so that should also help out the congestion. It has definitely been a different year.”
The kick-off weekend will be the market’s first health fair, sponsored by Mercy Health, and will include a variety of healthcare vendors.
A special New Carlisle Farmers Night Market will be hosted from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, at the New Carlisle Church of the Brethren, 219 N. Main St., New Carlisle. There will be no market on Saturday, July 4.
These markets give customers the chance to buy fresh, locally-grown produce, baked goods and specialty artisan items, all while supporting area farmers, business owners and entrepreneurs.
However, safety and patience are the focus.
“We just want to get through the first month to see how things go and do things correctly,” Sloan says. “We’re going to do everything we can to make it a safe experience without hindering the product for our supporters and profit for the vendors. We’re going to just take baby steps.”