BALLSTON SPA — The 2020 Ballston Spa Farmers’ Market will open starting June 13 and run through September 26.
By following interim guidelines set by New York State Agriculture and Market for Farmers’ Markets, guidelines and precautions have been set in place. According to the market’s website, vendors will be properly spaced, social distance precautions will be implemented and masks will be required for vendors and customers. They will also offer hand sanitizer to customers and vendors.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market has currently been open on Wednesday and Saturday each week following the same guidelines. Emily Meagher, Market Administrator of Saratoga Farmers’ Market Association (SFMA) said the market only cancelled in mid-March, but moved outdoors to the Wilton Mall, occupying the parking lots near the Bow Tie Cinemas and the old Bon-Ton department store. Bracing cold weeks throughout March and April, Meagher said the move outdoors wasn’t the only change SFMA has made.
“Things have been going well for our farmers’ market. We’ve been heartened by the immense support from our local community. Now more than ever, it seems people are really appreciating local products and producers,” Meagher said.
Other changes SMFA has made to their set up includes: spacing out vendors’ stalls 10 to 15 feet, widening walkways to encourage and accommodate social distancing between customers, increasing hand washing stations and hand sanitizer available to customers and vendors, requiring masks to be worn within the market perimeters, and encouraging customers not to bring more than two members of their household and not to bring pets, to preorder when possible, and not to linger after they shop.
Meagher also mentioned vendors cannot give out samples and are the only ones to touch products. They are also encouraged to prepackage items to limit exposure. Every hour during the market, customer attendance is counted to ensure not too many customers are at SMFA at one.
“Farmers’ markets are usually a very social and communal place. Although we can’t create that atmosphere right now as a market, thankfully our vendors and customers still create a joyful and positive environment,” Meagher said.
Even as a social setting, Meagher added the community shouldn’t worry while visiting the market so long as proper guidelines are followed. Each market entrance, in addition to their social media page, posts the safety guidelines.
“For those customers who are vulnerable or immunocompromised, we do encourage preordering or having a friend or family member come to the market instead. But due to the precautions we’ve taken and the fact that we are operating outdoors, our markets are very safe. For those who might still be worried, I suggest trying out our Wednesday market, which is a smaller market with about 15 vendors. Especially after the first opening rush, which lasts until about 4 p.m., the market becomes a very intimate and socially distanced place to do your shopping safely and without any stress,” Meagher said.
Starting in June, SFMA’s satellite location in Clifton Park will also be opened on Mondays, outside the Shenendehowa Methodist Church.