The Bath Farmers’ Market kicked off its new season on Friday, May 15. The market looked a little different this year, with hand washing stations, masks, and signs asking shoppers to spread six feet apart. These new safety precautions are helping stop the spread of COVID-19.
Hundreds of excited shoppers visited throughout the day, taking advantage of the warm weather and the chance to support local businesses. Carol Bear-Heckman, Bath councilwoman and farmers market committee member, estimated that 160 people showed up during the market’s first hour.
“I think in times like this, it is important to get foods locally sourced [and] support local business,” she said.
Vendors at the opening included Chartier Farms, Gourmet Peanut Butter & More, Broken Willow Winery, Blendlife, Hayes Flowers, and, new this year, Fegley’s Brew Works and Sweetly Smitten Cookies. Vendors served up fresh poultry, smoothies, hard cider, bread, baked goods, and more. Some vendors sold out early in the day due to popular demand.
Bear-Heckman said there are several other vendors on the calendar this season, but food and supply shortages have forced them to wait until later in the summer.
The market has added several new features to make shoppers comfortable, like contact-free pickup. By visiting the market’s new website, shoppers can find contact information for each vendor and place orders for pickup. Orders can be delivered directly to their car. Rewards cards have also gone virtual, while vendors are accepting credit cards for shoppers who are wary of paying cash.
At the opening, all shoppers and vendors wore masks, and social distancing guidelines were followed by all, creating a safe and worry-free environment.
“Fresh-air dining is the safest dining,” said Bear-Heckman. “Fresh-air shopping is right up there with it.”
Market manager Sarah Fulton was encouraged by the turnout.
“It is a relief for a lot of people cooped up indoors,” she said.
The market will run every Friday through September from 3 to 6:30 p.m. at Keystone Park in Bath. For more information and to place pickup orders, visit https://www.bathfarmersmarket.org/.