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Princeton Farmers Market officially kicks off its summer market season

Scott Jacobs
Big Red Farms, Cherry Grove Farms, Cherry Grove Organic Farms, Hlubik Farms, North Slope Farms, and Z Food Farms all donated vegetables that were sold to benefit Task and LLP Scholarships during the Holiday Farmers Market and Bake Sale that was hosted at the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville on Nov 20.

The Princeton Farmers Market opened its 2020 summer market season with new safety protocols and a new location.

Summer Market Season returned on May 28 as the Princeton Farmers Market operated in the Franklin Avenue parking lot, a temporary location for the market. Previously, the market’s location has centered on Witherspoon Street at Hinds Plaza.

Working with Jeff Grosser, the Princeton health officer, the parking lot location and safety guidelines were organized to ensure the safety of shoppers and vendors during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Max Hoagland, market manager.

“We want to call this new location ‘temporary’ as much as we can. Hinds Plaza is not too small but one of the main things we noticed was there is not a real way to govern where people are coming from. There are two entrances to the plaza from the garage and people can come from either side of the sidewalk along Witherspoon Street,” Hoagland said in briefing the Economic Development Committee. “We want to have a place that has extra space and could separate the tents and provide extra spacing to make everyone comfortable without sacrificing too much of the downtown location.”

He added that they are addressing issue of bringing the market back to downtown.

The farmers market will continue every Thursday through November.

“Our website currently has guidelines that we are revising to make more understanding to our customers and to pair with a map of foot traffic flow,” he said. “Vendors will sell to customers one at a time and will be putting down tape and chalk line cues in the parking lot so customers can be aware of their space and others’ space.”

He added that customers won’t be able to browse produce, check things out or taste samples.

“We are going to continue to update the guidelines at a weekly basis as things clear up or rules are added to the market,” Hoagland said.

Safety guidelines include the requirement of masks and face coverings for all market shoppers; trying to limit your time at the market to less than 30 minutes; recommended limit of shoppers to two shoppers per household; and mandatory social distancing of 6 feet.

“We have been working with vendors to get everybody on board for as much as they can for pre-payment and pre-ordering, so people can place an order days in advance and just pick up at the farmers market,” Hoagland said. “We primarily left payment systems up to vendors.”

The Princeton Farmers Market is also still accepting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits and matches $10 per shopper each Princeton Farmers Market day. There will be a EBT market-match mobile terminal available on the day.

According to Hoagland, the May 28 return of the summer market season will be an opportunity for insight about adjusting or adapting moving forward.

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