March 14th seems like such a long time ago. Another era, really. We’ve all been through so much since then and it’s been a long road to even be able to get to this point.
When COVID-19 came, everyone had to re-think and adjust and Farmers’ Markets were no different. With the support of Farmers Markets of Nova Scotia, farmers markets across the province were able to pivot and move everything online. This was a major undertaking and we all worked together to help each other so that our farmers and producers had some way to move their product. Without such a move, the future for some Farmers Markets and their vendors, definitely looked uncertain. It took a LOT of hours from staff and volunteers to get things up and running but in less than a month we had our first pick up date. In fact, it was April 11th to be exact.
You came out and supported in unprecedented numbers, allowing our farmers and food producers to keep going.We had kinks (do you remember the bridge *yikes*) and we had to tweak. You were amazingly understanding. You met our mistakes with grace and kindness and you continued to shop with us. Because of you, businesses, farms and our non-profit Farmers Market made it through a really tough and uncertain time.
As this pandemic has shifted, we continue to shift with it.
We are now at a point where we can hold an in-person market again, though like a lot of places it won’t look exactly the same. We’re not fond of the term “new normal”, because we’d like to think we will be able to meet again in the same way we used to, so until that day comes, we’ll say the “for now normal”. While the weather is nice, we are holding our Market completely outdoors. At the New Glasgow Farmers Market, we have the benefit of lots of space. Lots of space to spread vendors out and for customers to be able to keep space between them, all in keeping with current physical distancing guidelines.
While we may open the inside at a later time, outside gives us the advantage of space. It also means that we can take things slowly in the interest of safety and changing guidelines. If we opened inside, we would have to be at half the capacity and there is a whole other set of regulations that we would need to follow and we’re not quite there yet.
You can expect to see some vendors wearing masks and you are welcome to as well. We even have vendors that have been making them throughout the pandemic, so if you forget yours you’ll be likely to find one at the Market.
We have “Sanitation Stations”. More than just a catchy phrase (because it is fun to say), these tables have hand sanitizer on them for you. Sanitize when you come in, in between transactions and before you leave…as much as you’d like.
Like most places, in this for now normal, we have a few rules that you will need to follow. They are much the same as everywhere else. We ask that for your safety and ours, that you follow them.
Every vendor at the Market is its own business and each vendor may have their own process for you to follow. A specific spot to stand, sanitizing again on approach, waiting patiently etc. Please be kind, this is for you and for them.
We have recommended to vendors that they only keep a small amount of product out. This is to minimize contact so that you can shop with confidence and it also keeps the product in tip top shape!
We ask that you interact with kindness and patience as we have asked vendors to do as well. This is a new way of selling for many vendors and a different way to shop for you too. Many of them have not sold outside and they are adjusting to try and find a way to make it work.
For a while, you may not find as many vendors in person. As we just mentioned, this is a new way of selling and some are still figuring out the best way to make it work before they come back. Also, some just may not be ready to come back. Additionally, with fast changing new regulations on their business side, it can be a real challenge to do it all.
Prepared food producers cannot be with us right now as it is harder to meet Food Safety regulations (think temperature again) outside along with all the other requirements. Plus, ordering online offers them a lower risk venue. They can prepare what is ordered and know that it’s sold which cuts down on food waste and the resulting financial loss. Many of these vendors can still be found online so we ask that you continue to shop online and support them that way!
For now we don’t have additional seating and you won’t find garbage cans. This is to discourage gathering and ensure things go smoothly. Once we have things down pat again, you may see a limited amount return. In line with this, food purchased at the Market will be for take out only. Thank you for respecting this.
The Market will run the same hours, Saturdays 9am until 1pm. Try not to come early, but if you do, please understand if a vendor isn’t ready to assist you yet. Setting up takes a bit longer now that tents and tables are involved.
Online ordering is definitely still a thing. As we said before, many of your food producers are still there and they count on your support too! The best part is that pick up is now at the Market at the same time so you can shop in person and pick up your online order while there…you’re sure never to miss anything. It’s a win-win for all!
Other than pick up, everything still works the same. You can also have someone pick up for you if you aren’t able to make or are self-isolating. Ordering opens Sundays at Noon and closes Wednesdays at 6pm. If the service continues to be well utilized, we hope to keep it indefinitely.
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