By Andrea Cordle
The Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce spring farmers market was virtual. The summer event will be a more traditional walking market, with safety measures in place to protect shoppers and vendors from the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Starting on June 27, shoppers will be able to browse through the farmers market for produce, baked goods, jams and jellies and many other products sold from local vendors. Some of the vendors participating in the market include Hinton Apiaries, Calli’s Sweet Creations, Ohio Bison Farm, Blue Jacket Dairy and Procter Farm.
According to Shawn Conrad, executive director for the chamber, about 25 vendors participated in the virtual, drive-thru style spring market. She expects about 15 more to participate in the walking market.
“It will be a good size market,” said Conrad. “There will be lots of good things there.”
Marilyn Reiner, events manager with the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce, said like everything else, the summer farmers market will be different this year. The chamber will have to regulate how many people are shopping in the market at one time.
“We will allow about 50 to 55 people in the market,” said Reiner.
She also said the vendors will be spread out to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Once entering the market, patrons will be required to use hand sanitizer. They will also be asked to wear a face mask, though that will not be mandated.
Typically, the farmers market runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. However, this year, the market will run from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., but the first hour of the event will be dedicated to senior citizens or those more vulnerable to the coronavirus.
For those who prefer the drive-thru market, that virtual service will still be available.
According to Reiner, the market will even add vendors to the drive-thru service because they will already be on hand and should be able to take pre-paid orders.
The virtual service allows patrons to order online ahead of time and select a pick-up time to drive up and gather their order.
According to Conrad, the chamber of commerce must follow guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state of Ohio, Franklin County, and the city of Grove City. Due to these mandates, the farmers market will not feature popular events like the live chef’s cooking demonstrations and segments by a master gardener. These demonstrations are planned virtually. Market vendors will also not be allowed to give out samples.
“It has been very challenging (to host the farmers market during a pandemic),” said Conrad. “This is the 31st year of the market. The community loves it. We just could not let it go. We had to make it work.”
The walking market begins June 27 and will run each Saturday through Sept. 5 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. The chamber still has space for vendors. For more information on the farmers market, visit gcchamber.org.