Grafton Farmers Market to open with social distancing protocols

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By Abbey Basile, Contributing Writer

Grafton – On June 17, the Grafton Farmers Market will be open to the public for the 2020 season. The market will run every Wednesday from 2 to 6 p.m. through Oct. 7 on Grafton Common. This year, the market has been adjusted to fulfill COVID-19 safety requirements and thus will be a bit different than patrons may be used to.

Market Manager Callen Pacier explained that in order to open this year, the farmers market had to work closely with the town and the Board of Health for approval to open.

“We have been following the policies … outlined from the state and the town to make sure we’re doing everything they requested to keep our patrons and our vendors safe, and to have a nice, fun market,” Pacier noted.

The market will have only one entrance and one exit, and all vendors will be on one side of the sidewalk. Pacier explained that this will create a one-way flow to the market.

“We are kindly asking customers to follow that flow to help maintain social distancing requirements,” she said.

Farmers Market Committee member Elizabeth Spinney stated that there will also be tape on the sidewalk so people “can watch how they’re facing one another.”

Other safety measures include the requirement of masks and gloves for all vendors and staff and masks for all patrons. Hand sanitizer will be available to visitors when they enter the market and to the vendors as well.

In addition to the physical market, this year the Grafton Farmers Market will include an online market as well. Pacier explained that patrons who may not feel comfortable walking through the physical market can place an order through the app “WhatsGood.”

“The online market is going to be a virtual opportunity for people to purchase items from many of our vendors who are participating in that portion of things, and then we will gather the items and have a pickup location for them to get those on market day,” Pacier explained.

Natalie Leroux, Farmers Market Committee member and social media manager, remarked that many of the activities for children and the live music that the market usually offers will not be possible this year. However, Spinney said that “we are trying to talk about some other entertainment options throughout the summer that can keep the same sort of feel to the farmers market that everyone is used to.”

Leroux said that a positive element of this year’s market is its ability to be so “vendor-focused.” The market will welcome seven new vendors this year, including One Bite Bakery and Elzire’s Acre Goat Milk Soap. According to Pacier, many of the vendors that participate in the market each year decided to participate this year as well.

Leroux offered these words of advice to patrons: “I think if people are just being smart and considerate … and patient as they visit the market, especially on opening day, we can support the local vendors and get outside and see each other face to face.”

For more information regarding the Grafton Farmers Market, visit the market’s Facebook page.