The farmers market is ready to go for its first edition of 2020 in downtown Trail on Saturday – but it won’t be the festive community gathering it has become so well known for over the past four years.
Instead, because farmers markets have been declared by the province as an essential service – Trail’s incrEDIBLE Farmers Market (TIFM) will run only as a retail outlet for food, with strict transmission precautions in place.
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“We are all volunteers who recognize how vital it is during this very difficult time to shop for fresh and local food,” long-time TIFM volunteer Gina Ironmonger told the Trail Times.
“Our plans to open the market started late last year with an opening on Saturday, May 2 with a theme of ‘Mad Hatter Garden Party’ with activities for all ages,’ she continued.
“COVID-19 changed all that.”
She emphasized the market will still be open to business, but it cannot be the usual celebration of growing season where people are invited to meet, nosh on fresh offerings, and chat.
Furthermore, volunteers encourage that one family member be designated as the shopper.
“This is an essential food access retail outlet for local residents to purchase food, while ensuring local farmer livelihoods and reducing food and crop losses,” Ironmonger stressed.
The time and location remains the same as it has been since 2016, which is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the 1300 block of Cedar Avenue.
Ironmonger reiterated that the market is permitted to proceed during the pandemic because the B.C. government has declared farmers markets an essential service.
“We have been provided clear direction on physical distancing measures, restricted activities, enhanced hygiene, and other measures that will comply with recommendations and orders from the Provincial Health Officer,” she clarified.
The number of people on-site, for example, will be limited and thus the block cordoned off with the main entrance and exit will be on Eldorado Avenue.
“Shoppers will note directional arrows, signage, line-ups to a booth will meet physical distancing requirements of two metres between individuals and family groups, hand washing/sanitizer stations, with one shopper at a booth at a time,” she explained.
“The only person handling food items will be the vendor.”
A variety of seedlings such as tomatoes, peppers, hardy perennials, cacti and a variety of vegetables for gardens will be for sale.
“The market will have a food and agriculture focus,” continued Ironmonger.
“You can purchase locally raised and produced food and products such as meats, honey, eggs, wine, liquors, coffee, baking, chocolate, poultry, seedlings, and more.”
As far as merchants, the market is welcoming back popular vendors such as Earthy Organics, Kettle Kountry Farms, North Fork Pork & Poultry, Nancy’s Plants, Beaver Creek Greenhouses, Shae’s Plants, Kreative Cupcakes, Leanna’s Li’l Market, Wynndel Craft Distilleries, Columbia Gardens winery, and Ellen and Eugene.
As well, there will be some new vendors including Trail Coffee Company and Pure Honey Products.
“We would like to thank the Tuesday Morning Quilters for making masks and hats for all our volunteers,” Ironmonger said.
“With COVID-19, the market this year will be more labour intensive, so if you would like to soak up a little Vitamin D, have three hours a couple of times a month to spare as a volunteer, please call.”
To lend a hand, contact Gina Ironmonger at at 250.231.8671.