The great news is, outdoor farmers markets will be starting up soon. But it might be a while before they return to having that festival feel.
That’s because the markets will look and feel different amid precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In years past, for example, vendors at the Colorado Farm and Art Market (CFAM) would set up their tents in a space behind the Margarita at Pine Creek to sell their goods. The restaurant patio, nestled under the trees around the eatery, provided a welcome respite for market shoppers to relax with a bloody mary and enjoy one of the chef’s famous puffed egg dishes. Live music invited lingering. Friends and neighbors exchanged tips for cooking up the mess of green beans they had scored from the early produce, while their dogs snoozed under tables.
Colorado Farm and Art Market, Pioneers Museum, 215 S. Tejon St., 3 to 7 p.m., June to October, farmandartmarket.com
Briargate, 7610 N. Union Blvd., 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., TBA to Oct. 14, springsfarmersmarkets.com
Old Colorado City, Bancroft Park, 24th Street and W. Colorado Avenue, 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., TBA to Oct. 24, pikespeakfarmersmarket.com
Colorado Farm and Art Market, Margarita at Pine Creek, 7350 Pine Creek Road, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., TBA to October, farmandartmarket.com
Monument Hill, Monument, 66 Jefferson St., 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., TBA to Oct. 10, springsfarmersmarkets.com
Cordera, 11894 Grandlawn Circle, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., TBA to Sept 13, springsfarmersmarkets.com
Note: For a list of all Colorado farmers markets, visit coloradoagriculture.com and cofarmersmarkets.org.
Now, all that socializing will be minimized. Markets like CFAM will be following guidelines recommended by the Colorado Farmers Market Association and the state Department of Public Health and Environment.
“We have been working closely with city government and health and safety organizations on how to best provide fresh, healthy food to our customers,” said Ruth Markwardt, the new market manager for CFAM, which will have markets at the Margarita at Pine Creek and the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum.
Their first physical market will open at the museum on June 10. However, they are working on offering online options, which will happen sooner.
“We should have the online offerings up in May for pickup at the Pioneers Museum,” she said. “We’re hoping to start pickup June 3 from 3 to 7 p.m. It will be mostly our artists, with some food.”
When the first physical market opens, she said, expect to see about the same number of farmers as in past years.
“Vendors will be spaced 6 feet apart and wear masks and gloves,” Markwardt said. “There will be one entrance and exit to keep customers moving and maintaining 6-feet social distancing. If the market gets too crowded, the entrance will be closed until others have left. There will be a table separating the vendor and customers. Customers will select food by pointing, and vendors will bag items to prevent excess handling. And only one person will be handling cash. No music will be allowed, at least at first, to discourage lingering.”
The opening date at the Margarita at Pine Creek won’t be known until CFAM learns about “dine-in changes” there, she added.
Frank Schmidt is president of the Pikes Peak Farmers Market, which runs the Old Colorado City market in Bancroft Park.
“We’re scheduled to be there,” he said, “but there are some questions about an opening date.”
He says it is up to the local park department.
“Originally the market was scheduled to open June 13,” he said, “but I doubt we will start until after July Fourth. We’re being cautious.”
Michael Hrdichka operates the Colorado Springs Farmers Markets, which includes Briargate, Cordera, Banning Lewis and Monument Hill in Monument with his family. His Briargate and Monument Hill markets were to open May 20, but now, he texted, “It’s all up in the air.”
This content was originally published here.