By Shania Santiago
With spring in the air, bees aren’t the only one’s buzzing. Customers and vendors alike are awaiting news to see what the Elmwood Village Farmers Market will look like during the pandemic. Questions have arisen as to how the market will run this coming season as COVID-19 still lingers.
The market, located on Bidwell Parkway at Elmwood Avenue, is a producer-only market that gives local farmers and craftsmen the opportunity to sell their products. The selling season for the market is every Saturday, from May 15 to Nov. 27.
The pandemic resulted in the cancellation of many spring and summer events, but the market managed to avoid being shut down last year. Bob Weiss, board president of the market, aid it was an incredibly different environment compared to previous years.
To keep up with state safety regulations, the entire layout of the market was changed. In addition to all in attendance being required to wear masks, vendor setups remained six feet apart to enforce social distancing. Vendors were supplied with hand sanitizer and served customers one at a time. Performances that were part of the market in past years were notably missing this time around.
“We really did try to pay attention to New York State and what they were putting forth and saying,” Weiss said.
Weiss said that there are still discussions to be had on how exactly the market will be handled this year. Since COVID-19 is still very much at play there is a good chance that the market will follow similar procedures as last year.
“We are still going through the pandemic, we’re probably going to keep that same set up we had. It seemed to work pretty good,” Weiss said.
Kerry Planck, owner of Alpine Made in South Wales, has been selling her handcrafted soap and skincare products at the market since 2012. Planck praised the regulations put in place by the market last year. She is grateful that last year’s market was still able to take place through the pandemic.
“Had it closed down like many other venues it would have disenfranchised small farms, local farms that don’t have that other outlet to sell quite a bit of their products,” Planck said.
Looking ahead, Planck is starting to prepare for this year's market. Depending on how everything goes, she may bring in a second helping hand for her tent.
Matt Kauffman, manager of 5 Loaves Farm, a non-profit food farm located at 70 West Delevan Ave., is another vendor for the market. The farm has generated products such as its fresh produce, jams, and spices for the market since 2016. Like Planck, Kauffman approved of the COVID-19 regulations made for the market last year and admits he actually prefers the way it was set up.
Kauffman said 5 Loaves Farm is starting to make early preparations for the market this year.
“We’ve ended up focusing a lot on our early spring production and sales, so that we can make sure at the beginning of the market season we have lots of food that we can be distributing to folks,” Kauffman said.
The farmers market is currently accepting applications for vendors this year. More information about the market can be found on their website.