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Spencer Farmer’s Market to open, but with modifications

SPENCER — Some farmers markets will remain open for business to provide quick and safe access to fresh produce even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Spencer Farmer’s Market is set to open April 25 with a few modifications from previous years.

To put the focus on essential items, only vendors with plants and food will be available for the time being.

Mark Pauley, farmer’s market manager and director for marketing and development for the City of Spencer, said a traffic pattern will be put in place for those who want to stay in their vehicle or anyone who wishes to browse.

Curbside pickup is encouraged to limit the amount of exposure. Customers can pull up, tell the vendors what they want and the vendor will bag it and bring it to the vehicle and accept payment.

For those wishing to shop around, the tables will be strategically placed to encourage social distancing.

“We’re fortunate to have an open air market,” Pauley said.

In previous years, the Spencer Farmer’s Market took a more modern approach by selling soaps, jewelry and crafts, but with the COVID-19 virus, they decided to go back to the traditional market.

“With everything that’s going on, we’re going to revert to the old-school farmer’s markets with just food and produce because those are essential items,” Pauley said.

Another change will be operating hours. While the market was open several days during the week in previous years, it will only be open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.

“As the summer moves on, hopefully the virus will begin to be defeated here, we’ll look at maybe other options,” Pauley said.

Despite the changes and the different aspect of shopping in general, Pauley feels this will be a year for growth for the market.

“It’s definitely growing this year with the addition of a new vendor that has a lot of produce to offer. People are a little more paranoid at the moment (but) they go to the store and see the shelves are a lot more bare than usual. In the back of the minds they’re thinking ‘I should grow a garden,'” Pauley said.

Although shopping locally is always encouraged, it’s more important given the current situation, Pauley said.

Sometimes, vendors use their sales as a secondary source of income, but with people out of work, that might be their only source, he said.

Another reason why Pauley said farmers markets are important is because they are the safest option for obtaining low-contact, fresh food.

“This is going to be the lowest-touch option for going out and getting fresh produce, Pauley said. “These products are going to have the smallest level of interaction of anything you’ll find in the stores right now.”

Plenty of space is available for vendors who may be interested. For more information on renting a booth, contact Pauley at marketspencerwv@gmail.com or through the Spencer Farmer’s Market Facebook page.

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