CLINTON —The 2020 Clinton Farmer’s Market opened on Thursday, June 4, on a more spacious Village Green setting than in years past. It will run each consecutive Thursday until Oct. 1. The hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The usual scrambling, chatting crowds have given way to slower-paced masked customers waiting for masked and gloved vendors to make selections of fruits, vegetables and others goods and then package them.
All were cautious to respect social distancing guidelines in the midst of the coronavirus public health threat.
It was decided by organizers one way to help achieve that goal of respect was to cut back to 32 starting vendors, instead of the nearly 70 vendors of past seasons. Also, this year there is no live music and no prepared food vendors.
“We’re lucky we could have the Market,” said Jackie Walters, executive director of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce and Market lead organizer. “It’s such a beautiful day and everyone is following the rules. It’s taken everyone working together to make this possible.”
Orange arrows are now painted on the blacktop pathways of the Green to keep the foot traffic going in one direction as much as possible.
Large brightly-colored instruction signs line the perimeter of the Green reminding people to,
• Use hand sanitizer.
• Wear a mask.
• One healthy shopper per family.
• Order ahead.
• Limit your time.
• No pets allowed.
• Please do not to touch the Market products.
Geer, owner of Goatchard Farms, a vendor of organic fruits and vegetables, is putting a positive spin on the customer’s being asked not to touch the merchandise.
“Usually they could come right up and pick up what they want,” Geer said.” Now we actually have to be right there. We’re going to have to interact with them more intensely and I think it’s going to bring us closer, a closer rapport with our customers.”
ML Nolan, owner of Jake’s Bakes All Natural Dog Treats, said it’s so exciting to be back.
“There are some new restrictions we’re all aware of,” Nolan said. “But we’re all abiding by the rules and slowly getting some normalcy back.”
One thing that hasn’t changed since last season is the acceptance of SNAP tokens. Customers can stop by the Clinton Chamber Information Booth for more information. Also, Get a $2 Fresh Connect Check (FCC) for every $5 in SNAP benefits used at the Clinton Farmers Market. The Fresh Connect Checks can be used at all vendors who accept SNAP, according to the Clinton Chamber of Commerce.
Customer Bob Tobin, of New Hartford, said he was just happy to see some signs of life from this community or any other for that matter.
“It’s nice to see the people back out enjoying themselves,” Tobin said. “Seeing this today gives me hope.”
For updates and general information all season long visit the Clinton Farmers Market Facebook page or log onto the Clinton Chamber of Commerce website at https://clintonnychamber.org/.