Clinton, NY - Due to the coronavirus there were concerns if farmers markets would even open this summer but now patrons are walking back into the farmers market in Clinton masked and socially-distanced.
Baked goods, pickles vegetable, jam, flowers, masks and hand sanitizer.
This is the new normal for Clinton Farmer's Market.
New York State has not restricted farmers markets from being open. In fact, these operations are exempt under the mass gatherings guidance as essential food supply chain industries.
“We’re very lucky that farmer’s markets are deemed essential businesses. We've been going through the guidance from the New York State Ag (Agriculture) and Markets (department) and working closely with the Federation of Farmer’s Markets for New York State. I’ve been on weekly Zoom calls with them since the middle of April, sharing information,” says Jackie Walters, Executive Director at the Clinton Chamber of Commerce and Farmer’s Market Manager.
“We do have restrictions. Everybody has to wear a mask when they come to the market, you have to practice the six feet social distancing.”
Including that, customers are not allowed to touch market products before purchase, and no pets are allowed at the market.
I asked Mayor Steven J. Bellona if opening the farmer's market helps bring a sense of normalcy to the village.
“That's what we were hoping to do,” says Bellona. “After being shut down for two and a half months this is an opportunity that you can’t pass up. We thought long and hard about how this might work but I feel that we're taking the opportunity to try to make it work for the Village and create that community feeling again.”
What do the vendors and customers think about the reopening?
“Super excited. It’s great to be out. It’s really nice to see faces of everybody, it’s a little different when you want to hug or shake somebody’s hand. It still makes you feel good to see people and you can know that they're smiling under the mask even if you can't see it,” said Kara Keely, Co-owner of Spring Creek Lavender
Ken Mangine, who assists his son with Fruit of the Fungi has been vending at the Market for the past 12 years.
“Everybody that's out here, vendors and customers, were all happy to be out here and up and out and about,” said Mangine.
Stephanie Bahr, Farmer’s Market patron said, “I wouldn’t normally be wearing a mask and it would be more a social occasion. So I mean, it’s some normalcy but not normalcy-normalcy. Any epidemiologist would say this is a safer shopping environment than going to a grocery store. Even if it’s not delightfully normal feeling, it’s definitely safer."
While Clinton's market is open, on June 1, Whitesboro made the decision to cancel their farmer's market this year. Mayor Robert Friedlander says the cancellation is to 'ensure public safety and the inability to follow pandemic restrictions.'
The Clinton Farmers Market is open every Thursday from now until October 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the first hour being reserved for seniors and for the vulnerable.