People look forward to the time of year when they can buy locally grown food, hand crafted goodies, and spice up their Sunday routine.
The farmer’s market brings so much joy along with the warmer weather. Monticello and Big Lake locals are especially looking forward to the opening of farmer’s markets because of the effects of COVID-19.
Everyone is ready to get out of the house.
Monticello’s Program and Operations Manager Sara Cahill and Big Lake’s Recreation and Communication Coordinator Corrie Scott are ready as well.
The Monticello farmer’s market will open on Thursday, May 21 and will be taking place in the Monticello Public Library parking lot and celebrate it’s 14th year.
The market will be open from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The Monticello Community Center thought it was a great idea to open it back up in Monticello with any necessary safety precautions.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Cahill said. “Vendors work hard to provide locally grown and produced food. These hard working vendors live in our community and care about their customers.”
They reached out to pre-existing vendors and the vote was unanimous. Everyone was interested in participating.
Locals have been reaching out as well wondering when the market would be open again.
Fifteen vendors will participate in the market this season. Vendors will offer fresh produce, canned goods, baked goods, maple syrup, honey, plants, trees and flowers. Some vendors will sell ready to eat food to-go such as Mac’s Mini Donuts, Gouda Q, and Thai 1 On.
This year will be different as they institute safe shopping practices now taking place in markets across the state and country.
As a way to keep the market safe, people are asked to use the market as just a shop and not a social gathering, keep it to one adult shopper per household and children are encouraged to stay home, follow signs and markers to obey a minimum six feet physical distance, vendors will be wearing face masks or shields and will not be offering samples, shoppers are encouraged to wear masks, no smoking will be allowed, and shop with your eyes not with your hands.
The popular Power of Produce (PoP) Kids Club will continue with an online ordering process. More details will be shared about that on a later date.
Shoppers have also been encouraged to make a list and pre-order from vendors if possible. Certain vendors will take credit card payments over the phone and have your order ready for contactless pick-up.
In order to ensure social distancing, an empty table will be placed in front of vendor booths.
Handwashing stations and sanitizer will be available to all. Cash, credit, debit and EBT will be accepted.
“I think people will be happy to shop in a safe open air market from local vendors they know and trust,” Cahill said.
The Big Lake farmer’s market will open on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. starting on June 3 in the parking lot of the Big Lake Beach in Lakeside Park.
This will mark the 11th year and Scott has personally enjoyed watching it grow each year.
“I think this will be a huge year for farmers markets as people are finding creative ways to support their local businesses and farmers,” Scott said.
Vendors are encouraged to refrain from offering samples, limit the number of people selling at booths, use table coverings that can be sanitized, wear a mask and gloves, maintain a 6-foot distance, and pack all items for customers into a container that only the cuostumer touches.
So far the confirmed vendors are Becky’s Bars and Potions, Bright Haven Farm, Compost Guy Farm, Grace’s Hoodies, Hennum’s Homade, Home Sweet Honey, Jewelry by Linda Lee, Katie’s Kitchen, LV Garden, Mac’s Minis, Matt’s Muschroom and More, Mavki Produce, Mister Lemonade, Oak Park Farm, Prairie Fire Kitchen, Succulent Queen, Svihel Vegetable Farm, Warnke Farm, Gouda Q, and Smokin J’s BBQ, and hopefully more to come.
A lot of things are up in the air including musical entertainment and the power of produce club.
Market shoppers are encouraged to wash hands, wear masks, social distance, stay home if sick, and not bring children.
Everyone is just excited to have a little bit of normalcy back.
“I am truly excited and honored to be back for my fifth year coordinating the Big Lake Farmers Market,” Scott said. “It is my favorite part of my position with the City of Big Lake as their recreation and communication coordinator. I love being able to bring families and neighbors to our beautiful parks to enjoy time outdoors learning about local farmers, crafters and musicians while enjoying truly delicious locally grown foods.”
Updates and more information will be posted about the farmer’s markets on each city’s Facebook pages.
Reach Jessie Meyen at firstname.lastname@example.org