Yes, there will be Ashland Farmers Market (AFM) this summer, opening June 13, 9 p.m. to 1 p.m., at 125 Front St., across from the library. And oh! The changes they have made!
This season’s market, because of COVID-19, is not for lingering and socializing but for accessing essential, healthy local food. The new setup is geared to help customers select and pick up their produce and goods quickly and safely. There will be no music, sampling, artisans, picnic tables, ready-to-eat or drink, or special events. The AFM, farmers, and vendors are being proactive and responsive to the changing times. They need the complete cooperation of their customers to make this a successful ongoing effort.
AFM recommends making a shopping list beforehand, and to consider preordering. To order from vendors, visit www.AshlandFarmersMarket.org. The following four farms will participate this summer: Flats Mentor, Long Life, Sunshine and Upswing. (You can find Arcadian Farms at their Holliston farm stand.)
To make it safe for shoppers this season, AFM has put in place the following measures:
• All customers, vendors, staff and volunteers must wear a face covering or mask.
• Hand sanitizers will be available throughout the market for use before and after cash and credit card transactions.
• Customers will be able to enter and exit the market only through the parking lot.
• Signs and ground markings will guide customers through a one-way passing lane and waiting stops six feet apart.
• There will be no space for customer parking along the market as vendors will be setting up their tents, cars and trucks along Front Street.
• Customers are encouraged to preorder and prepay directly with vendors.
• Customers may not touch any food, but rather point to indicate what they want to buy.
• At the Market Manager’s tent, AFM will continue to match the first $20 for SNAP each week, using new washable plastic tokens. Healthy Incentive Program (HIP) benefits, providing free fresh produce for SNAP users, will be available at both Upswing Farm and Long Life Farm.
• Vendors are obligated to use paper bags or single-use plastic bags by order of Governor Baker. If you bring your own reusable bags to carry home multiple items, vendors may not touch them.
• Please do not bring your children or your dogs. Best to have only one person in the family do the shopping.
High Quality Food Available
Nothing has changed about the high quality of what the vendors bring to the market each week. Produce goes directly from field to market. With fewer hands touching and shorter turnarounds, it is safer than produce trucked or flown to supermarkets, and much fresher as well.
Many of the small businesses customers have come to appreciate will be returning this season. Customers can shop fish, meats and eggs, breads, sweets, bagels, muffins, cheese, honey, pasta, mushrooms, granola, sauces, hummus, pickles, dog food, wine and hard cider.
To sign up for weekly email and for more information, visit www.AshlandFarmersMarket.org.