ROCKWOOD – The Rockwood Farmers’ Market is officially open, taking place every Wednesday evening for the summer.
“This is going to be a stripped down version of the market,” market organizer Jen MacLeod said in an interview. “In a sense we’re returning to the truest version of a farmers’ market.
“We want to get those people who are making and growing and producing things, we want to give them a venue to sell them and connect them with the local customers who want them.”Rock
The market will take place every Wednesday from 4 to 7pm until Oct. 7.
However, this year’s market is going to look a little different from those in the past.
First, the market has moved to Rockmosa Park (110 Rockmosa Drive).
“In order to control foot traffic flow, we will have one entry point, which is adjacent to Rockmosa Community Centre,” MacLeod said in an email. “Customers will be directed to circulate in a clockwise direction, keeping two metre distancing.”
She said shoppers can go around the market as many times as they need for their shopping, but they must adhere to the unidirectional flow of traffic. Volunteers on site will help shoppers get used to which direction to follow.
“I think people will get used to it after a visit or two,” she said.
Directing customers is only one of many changes the market is putting into place to adhere to the public health guidelines surrounding COVID-19.
All the vendors and volunteers will be wearing masks and market organizers encourage shoppers to also don a mask, though it’s not a requirement.
The market is also offering online pre-ordering and payment for contactless pickup. The first market day, which was officially June 10, saw strictly this method of shopping.
“However, as you know, things are changing fast with respect to COVID and public health guidelines, and we have been given permission to open up more like a regular market with onsite sales and cash transactions beginning or June 17th,” MacLeod said.
That does not mean contactless pickup will be unavailable. In fact the plan for pick up and delivery was in place pre-pandemic and ended up fitting in with public health guidelines.
The market will continue the pre-ordering and payment for those who prefer it to reduce their risk of contact. Delivery will also be available for $5. Volunteers will pick up orders from vendors and deliver to homes in the N0B 2K0 area.
Each vendor will set their own cut off times for when an order can be placed online in advance of market day. MacLeod said in general it’s about 24 hours in advance.
“We really wanted to be able to offer that, first of all because it’s a bit of a bedroom community and some people don’t get home from work until near closing and so they would miss out on products,” MacLeod explained. “So we wanted people to be able to order and either have them set aside or order and delivery.
“And of course this year with COVID there are going to be people who don’t want to risk coming out and/or potentially they can’t come out – maybe they’re quarantined or something like that. So we’ve got volunteers who are ready to help us with our new delivery system.”
For information on online ordering and delivery visit http://therockwoodfarmersmarket.ca.
To further adhere to COVID-19 guidelines many vendors will have “tap” technology for credit card and Interac payment and some will continue to accept cash.
Unfortunately the pandemic protocols also discourage standing and visiting that is such a market tradition.
“Volunteers will be asking people to keep moving, as they pick up or shop from vendors,” MacLeod said.
To learn about vendors participating in the market visit http://therockwoodfarmersmarket.ca/our-vendors/.
As the season goes on more and more vendors will be added to the market’s roster. MacLeod said some of the usuals have seen such support from the community over the spring they are low on product and don’t have inventory to sell at the market. They will be back when their stores are replenished and they have product to sell.
“We’re really grateful that we can open because we wanted to provide a way for locals to get local food and we also wanted to keep supporting our vendors who, of course, need a marketplace to sell their goods,” MacLeod said.