Plans are moving ahead for the return of the Downtown Salmon Arm Farmers Market.
Introduced last year, the market proved a successful Saturday morning outing, with numerous stalls run by local farmers and artisans in the Ross Street Plaza and adjacent parking lot, as well as live entertainment and activities.
The market is scheduled to return on May 16, though with a modified format including new health and safety measures in place in response to COVID-19.
Farmers markets have been deemed an essential service in B.C. and are exempt from the mass gathering order. However, they must still comply with physical distancing requirements, as well as other restrictions set out by the province for farmers markets. One of the restrictions is that farmers markets are currently limited to the sale of food.
“There are people who need to get out and see other people in a safe way, so we’re going to have a physical market, but we’re going to have to keep the two-metre distancing in our lineups,” commented Downtown Salmon Arm Farmers Market organizer Serena Caner, adding vendors will also be strategically spaced, hand sanitizing stations will be set up for people as they enter and leave the market, and shoppers will not be allowed to bring their own bags.
In addition to the physical market, which Caner anticipates will start with around 18 vendors, there will be an associated online market, hosted on localline.ca, where approximately 27 vendors will have items available for purchase.
“We decided to do the online market as well because some people aren’t going to be coming out to the market because they don’t feel comfortable,” said Caner. “So the idea with the online market is you shop and pre-pay online and then you just come and pick up your order.”
Caner said the plan is to set up a curbside system for pre-paid online orders, where they are packaged in advance and loaded into the buyer’s vehicle.
With its success last year, Caner wanted to keep the market going as such venues are vital to small-scale farmers as a source of revenue.
“If our farmers have a year where they can’t sell any of their crops, well then, they have to stop farming and get another job,” said Caner. “So it’s quite important for the local food economy that these farmers… have a market for their food.
Caner is encouraging anyone who can’t visit the downtown market to try out the online market when it is up and running.
“If you want to come to a physical market, you’re still welcome to do that. And our responsibility to the public is to make our market a safe space for people to be.”
Watch the Downtown Salmon Arm Farmers Market page on Facebook for additional information.