Orange Farmers Market announces June 4 opening, pandemic protocols

  • The Orange Farmers Market is scheduled to be open on Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m. starting June 4. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 5/26/2020 1:09:12 PM
Modified: 5/26/2020 1:09:09 PM

ORANGE — The Orange Farmers Market has announced its dates for the 2020 season as well as the procedures it will follow to protect customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The market is scheduled to be open from 3 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays in the parking lot of the Orange Armory at 135 East Main St. from June 4 to Oct. 15. The opening had been slated for May 14, but market Manager Rachel Gonzalez said it was delayed three weeks to take appropriate measures to ensure customer and vendor safety. Gonzalez said the rescheduling was urged by Orange Health Agent Matthew Fortier.

The Orange Farmers Market Committee is following state guidelines and working with town officials to institute safeguards to minimize possible COVID-19 exposure, Gonzalez added.

“Early birds” will not be allowed and the market will adhere to a strict 3 p.m. opening. Entrances and exits to the market will be clearly marked and the number of customers in the parking lot at any one time will be controlled. Face masks and physical distancing will be required, and there will be a no-touch purchasing system — customers will have to identify what they wish to purchase and only the vendor will be allowed to handle the produce and products as the sale is completed.

According to the Orange Farmers Market Committee, additional signs, cones, tape and markings will control pedestrian and vehicle flow, and the use of debit and credit transactions will be encouraged to minimize potential contamination through cash.

Also, a pre-order and pickup system is still be developed in time for the market’s opening on June 4.

With similar precautions in place, the Greenfield Farmers Market opened next to the Greenfield Common on May 2. The Great Falls Farmers Market in Peskeomskut Park in Turners Falls is expected to open the last week of May or the first week of June.

Gonzalez said she’s heard from many customers of the Orange Farmers Market who are anxious for it to return.

“You wouldn’t believe it. And people have been getting a hold of me and my other friends and vendors, and they want to plant gardens for themselves,” said Gonzalez, who has been involved with the market for roughly eight years. “I think people are getting nervous about their food security.”

She said several have inquired about purchasing flowers to beautify their properties as well.

“People have time, maybe for the first time in their lives, to plant flowers in their gardens,” Gonzalez said.

There is a tremendous need for volunteers to manage pedestrian and vehicle traffic, Gonzalez said. Anyone interested should contact the Orange Community Development Office at comdev_intern@townoforange.org.

“I really feel like the town is supporting us in this effort,” she said, “because it’s a big deal.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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