On Thursday, June 11, the Salem Farmers’ Market officially kicks off its twelfth season, running every Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. from June 11 through October 15, 2020. The market will operate quite differently this season, including a temporary move to the Bentley School parking lot at 25 Memorial Drive, Salem (pending final city approvals) to allow for appropriate social distancing and to maintain a safe market environment.
A number of policies and procedures have currently been put in place to meet state guidelines and best practices outlined by the local Board of Health, including:
· Food vendors only (farms, seafood, bakeries, prepared foods, etc.) to start. The Board of Health will assess the possibility of craft, soap, and other nonfood vendors at the end of June.
· All customers and vendors must wear a face mask.
· A maximum of 100 customers at one time. The move to Bentley for more parking, giving customers the option to remain in the cars if the market is at capacity when they arrive.
· A specific clockwise flow will be laid out, with a clearly marked entrance and exit.
· Sanitization stations will be available at the entrance and throughout the market.
· A police detail and Farmers Market volunteers will be on hand to help manage the flow of traffic.
· There will be no samples allowed or food prepared on site.
· Vendors shall not use tablecloths so tables can easily be cleaned, and are encouraged to have items pre-packaged where possible to reduce handling and make shopping quicker.
· There will be no live music, community nonprofits, or sponsor tents present initially.
Important notes for customers to be aware of include:
· Face masks are required.
· Reusable bags are not allowed.
· No dogs allowed.
· Restrooms are only available for vendors.
· EBT programs are temporarily suspended until a safe, paper-free solution can be developed.
· Single-person shopping is encouraged.
· Vendors are being encouraged to consider CSAs and preorders, but this will not be organized by the market. We will promote as many pre-order opportunities that we are aware of via social media.
These policies may be reevaluated and changed at any time by the market committee and the Board of Health to ensure the safety of all involved.
“The Salem Farmers’ Market has truly become a destination and gathering place for the community for over a decade now,” Salem Main Streets executive director Kylie Sullivan said. “It feels counterintuitive to adopt a model that specifically discourages lingering, but we believe that the market plays an important role in our community not only as a valuable point of food access, but also to provide a sense of normalcy and togetherness as we continue to rebuild. I am incredibly grateful for our market manager Gus Sousa, the market committee, and our City of Salem partners, who are all working so hard to make sure the market can continue this season in a way that will be safest for our vendors, customers, and volunteers.”
For five months every year, the largely volunteer-run market gives residents and tourists alike the opportunity to buy farm-fresh produce, seafood, baked goods, meat, and a variety of other goods. At the heart of the market are seven major farms: Clark Farm, Gibney Gardens, Maitland Mountain Farm, Grant Family Farm, Heavens Harvest Farm, Long Hill Orchard, and Wally’s Vegetables. They will be complemented as the season progresses by an array of specialty foods, bakery products, spices, and non-food vendors.
The market is made possible through the leadership of Salem Main Streets and the Farmers’ Market Committee, as well as the generous contributions of volunteers. They’re currently looking for volunteers to help with weekly set up from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m., help at the info table between 3:00 and 7:00 p.m., and break down help from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. If you are interested in volunteering, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.