*CHANGES COMING FOR THE 2020/2021 SEASON *
We will continue to host the Winter Farmers’ market in collaboration with Seacoast Eat Local for the 2020/2021 season. To ensure a safe shopping environment there will be a few changes. One important change is that customers will be required to make an appointment to attend the winter farmers’ markets this year. Please do this by visiting https://www.seacoasteatlocal.org/find-local-food/our-winter-farmers-market/
FOR CURRENT INFORMATION and FAQs regarding the upcoming market season please visit Seacoast Eat Local’s website (link below):
2020-2021 Winter Farmers’ Market FAQs posted by Seacoast Eat Local:
Are the markets still happening? We’re planning on having a regular schedule of farmers’ markets as we have in the past. While there are many factors out of our control, we’re working closely with venues and local authorities to be able to have the season happen.
Will you still have markets in Exeter and Rollinsford? We’ve been in constant contact with both locations and intend on having markets at both locations. There are many extra factors for us to consider including the type of venue, legal occupancy/capacity, parking, and building accessibility.
What dates will market take place this year? We have a full season of dates prepared and will be releasing market dates and locations on a monthly basis. Check above for the most recent winter market dates.
Your markets usually draw well over 1,500 people, how will you handle crowd control? We’re working on a number of measures to reduce crowds at market this year. We will be limiting the number of people per household to one (if possible we realize there may be exceptions), encouraging customers to pre-order directly with vendors and pickup orders outside of market at a designated area, requiring customers to make an appointment to attend markets.
Will the layout of market look different this year? Yes, we are working on new layouts for both venues which will be centered around one-way foot traffic, vendor tables spaced farther apart, and vendor placement by product category. There will not be any room for visiting nonprofits, musicians, or other market guests.
Will all of my favorite vendors from last year still be there? What we do know is that there will be less room for vendors due to our new distanced layout. We expect the reduction in the number of vendors will be around 20%. Some vendors have already told us they will not be attending because they have adequate sales alternatives and would prefer to leave their table space for vendors that don’t have other alternatives. Vendor applications will be going out late this year so we won’t have that information available until late September or early October.
What sort of online or pre-ordering will you offer? We will be posting links to vendors’ (both those that will be at market and those that won’t) online stores on our website and marketing materials. Customers may place and pay for orders online directly with vendors. Vendors will bring pre-orders to market and Seacoast Eat Local will organize the orders and make them available for customer pickup in a designated location. This will enable customers to continue getting products from their favorite vendors without having to enter market. Our primary goal for online ordering will be for our markets to be used as a pickup location and not to replicate any other online ordering service.
Will SNAP and Market Match still be available? Yes. We are also working on enabling SNAP customers to utilize the pre-order option and pay for eligible items with SNAP or Market Match. More details will be announced as we continue to develop this option.
What other safety measures will be in place? We will require all customers, vendors, staff, and volunteers to wear masks at all times. Hand sanitizer will be available at multiple locations within market. Many vendors will enhance their displays to reduce the amount of food that is touched. One-way traffic and social distance signs and markers will help customers navigate the market. We will only be allowing a reduced number of people to be shopping in market at one time. We will encourage alternative payment options such as Venmo, PayPal, and Google Pay.
I enjoy having a hot cup of coffee and breakfast sandwich at market. Will that option still be available? There will be no food or beverages made-to-order and no food or beverages may be consumed on-site by customers.
Have you considered canceling the season? At this point, we have not seriously considered canceling the season. We’ve surveyed both vendors and customers with an overwhelming majority saying they are still interested in the market happening. With many new sales outlets for local farmers, including online farm stores and delivery options, we still feel like farmers’ markets are a critical part of making local food accessible to everyone.
How will you communicate all of these changes to the public? We will create comprehensive and easy to read materials for both customers and vendors. Materials will be continuously sent out on social media and our email list as a reminder on a weekly basis leading up to each market. We will also have simple signage outside of both venues informing customers of the most important changes. Staff and/or volunteers will be present at the market entrance to let people in and ensure customers are informed and are following our guidelines.
Any further questions about our Winter Farmers’ Markets can be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org