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Franklin - Local Town Pages

Franklin Farmers’ Market Will Be Different this Season

Jun 30, 2020 06:53AM ● By Anne Parker

Fairmount Fruit Farm has been a regular vendor for many years.

Sense of Community Is the Same

By Anne Parker

The Franklin Farmers’ Market kicked off its 2020 season June 5. Business was good the first couple of weeks. Between 450-500 people came on their Friday market days from 12 noon-6 p.m. Under the cover of face masks one can sense the smiles and happy banter of visitors ready for summer. Vendors had their beautiful displays of goods excited and ready for business.

It is different this season, though, in the cautious time of COVID-19. During Phase 2 in June, the state allowed businesses and restaurants to reopen. After being closed for 3 months, shops and markets are finding ways to conduct business in a safe manner.

This year, the perimeter of the market is marked with cording. Visitors must walk through a designated entrance near Main and Church street, they must wear a face mask, and keep 6 feet apart, per orders from the state. Shop, then leave the area. “People are being very understanding. They are wearing their masks. That’s what the law is right now,” said market manager Cynthia Garboski.

The market has always been a social and community center. In summers past, people meander throughout the afternoon, chat with each other, children see friends, dogs patiently waited on their leash. Since Garboski began managing it 5 years ago, it has grown a lot and turned into a community event.

“People are happy that we are here more than anything else,” she said. “Some people are thanking me just to see it. It’s all been very positive. I even have 40 masks that someone offered to make. So, we have them if people drive by and stop in.”

The market did well so far this season, she reported. Seated at the entrance, she and her help count the number of visitors. This year, only a certain number are allowed into the market at a time. So they keep track. 

It is still early in the season, so there are weeks to come when more produce will be ready. In the meantime, customers can get familiar with the new way of enjoying the market.

Don’t shop hungry

This year, there are fewer vendors, to allow for plenty of space between booths. Marks in the lawn every 6 feet indicate where customers should stand if they wait in line — all dictated by state guidelines.

“Shop with your eyes, not your hands,” stated first-year vendor Zach Zeigler of Zeigler’s Market Garden, Norfolk. Customers are not allowed touch produce that is not packaged. Simply point to what you want and vendors will place in a bag.

Food samples are not a part of this year’s market, unfortunately. This is true for markets in any town in Mass. at this time. There may be a few individual items sold, but not as much as in years past. You may not bring in your own food. It’s all in an effort to be safe.

Still, there is much to buy and enjoy. Vegetables, mushrooms, artisan breads, wine, candy and popcorn, sauces and condiments, honey, eggs, bath and body products, knife sharpening. New this year — fresh seafood from Boston Sword and Tuna.

Preorder from vendors

This year, it’s all about the Franklin Farmers Market website. Use the website as your key to the market, and plan your shopping.

Order ahead of time from several vendors. Simply go to Franklin Farmers Market website Click on the vendor list on the first page of the website to see which companies prefer preorders. All contact info. and list of products is right there. Simply order what you want, pay with your credit card, and pick up your order at the farmers’ market 12-6 on Friday. 

Some vendors will not be at the market at all this year, but they are still open for business. Go to the Franklin farmers’ market website, find your favorite company on the vendor list. Customers click and will be linked to the company’s website listing products, payment and delivery and pick-up options.

Safety guidelines for customers to follow is also on Read and understand the guidelines before you go.