Hendricks County farmers markets set to reopen with safeguards
By Lindsay Doty
10-year old Molly Hanna of Molly’s Maters carefully tends to her tomato plants at her backyard garden in Pittsboro, preparing for the upcoming farmers market season.
“I water them every other day. This year, I also did strawberries and cucumbers, and carrots,” says the Pittsboro Elementary fourth-grader who became a grower at age 7 and will be a returning vendor at the local Pittsboro Farmers Market when it reopens this summer.
Pittsboro Elementary student Molly Hanna of Molly’s Maters hands her customer (her mom) some change at her vendor booth at the Pittsboro Farmers Market in 2019. (Photo provided by Molly Hanna)
The small outdoor market that’s held in the parking lot of Pittsboro United Methodist Church will start back up June 3. Indiana has deemed farmers markets essential for the food they provide but the markets will operate with new safeguards due to the coronavirus.
“We will encourage both vendors and those in attendance to maintain proper social distance during the season. We are also working with our vendors to strongly recommend each vendor wear masks and gloves during the market,” said organizer Scott Smith, director of recreation with the Pittsboro Parks Department.
Other precautions will include pre-packaged items for quick pickup and no eating on site.
While the local outdoor farmers markets, known just as much for the mingling and town chatter as they are fresh produce, may have different vibe this season, organizers and vendors seem equally enthusiastic about opening.
“I think it is valuable to have this in the community because so many people will now more than ever be looking for items that are produced locally and have fewer touchpoints in the supply chain,” said Scott Smith, who also sees the value in helping local farmers and vendors stay in business.
In Hendricks County, the larger community markets are also preparing to open for the season with new guidelines and a wait-and-see attitude.
While most communities don’t start the season until the first week of June, Danville begins its weekly Saturday markets tomorrow (May 9).
The Danville Chamber of Commerce Farmers Market shared a message on Facebook reminding county residents the importance of supporting small farms, local businesses, and families. Organizers say the Danville market will adopt new practices being implemented by grocery stores to keep shoppers and market vendors safe.
The list that follows guidelines with the Farmers Markets & State of Indiana includes limiting the number of people within the area and adding additional hand sanitizer stations for customers and vendors.
The Danville market runs from 8 a.m. to noon on the west side of the Hendricks County Courthouse each Saturday from May 9 until September.