After a chilly weekend, the weather finally warms up this week. Just in time for the opening of the Oneida County Public Market. This year, some things are different.
The parking lot outside of the Utica union station at the REA wing is empty now, but it will be filled with vendors this Saturday. The Market Manager of the Oneida County Public Market, Mrs. Irons, says "I mean, I know we've had reactions on our Facebook page where people are excited that we actually have a start date. So we're hoping to have a good crowd."
They will be taking proper precautions though. Mrs. Irons says "We will be observing all of the CDC guidelines of 6 foot social distancing. Everyone here at the market will be required to wear a mask, including the vendors, market staff, and support team."
To limit the number of people at the market this year, and to keep everyone safe, they ask that children and pets stay home. Mrs. Irons told us, "We will be encouraging that the families, each household send one representative to do the shopping for the household."
They will be accepting cash and card purchases, but you can also call and order ahead for pick up. Mrs. Irons told us how it's done, "A lot of our vendors do have pre-order capabilities, so if you want to call a particular farm. If you know you want to pick up a meat order, or fresh vegetables, or a baked good from Utica bread. Give them a call ahead of time and they'll have the order ready for you to pick up."
If you will be shopping at the market, here's the safety procedures to follow. Mrs. Irons says "Each booth will be 10 feet from the next booth. There will be 6 foot lines marked in each of the booth spaces, which the shoppers will be able to stand at and tell the vendors what they want from each booth. The vendors will bag their purchase."
There will also be one way traffic through the market. But most importantly, Mrs. Irons wants to note "The number one thing is always everyone's safety. We want to give people the access to support the local farmers and producers that they've all missed all winter, but we want to do it as safely as possible."
This popular annual market is known for it's fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, flowers, and crafts. The market manager is very excited that they are still able to have the event this year. Mrs. Irons says "We are very thankfully opening our 10th summer season this coming Saturday the 16th. Our usual hours from 9 to 1 behind the train station at the REA wing."
This Saturday they will have less tables than usual since they are only allowed to have food vendors. But they will still have a large selection of goods. Mrs. Irons says "We'll have about 20 vendors starting with us. And we will have honey, maple syrup, baked goods, the fresh fruit that has survived the last few weeks."
The weather will be perfect for the opening day on Saturday. It will be warm with high temperatures in the upper 60s. We'll also have partly sunny skies and nearly calm winds. All you'll need to bring is a pair of sunglasses and a mask.
You can help support local businesses and farmers by coming to the Oneida County Public Market this Saturday. But be sure to bring a mask with you and stay 6 feet apart from others. It will be open from 9:00am until 1:00pm outside of the Utica Union Station at the REA wing.