By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(May 14, 2020) Members of the Berlin Town Council on Monday voted to consider expanding the town’s Sunday farmers’ market to a portion of Main Street.
The motion was made by Councilmember Zackery Tyndall, after he observed that the previous Sunday market had become “somewhat congested.”
“We have more vendors then we have the space. We also have several businesses that want to participate and may not have the space to be able to accommodate that,” he added. “I was talking to [Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells] and I said, ‘Why don’t we incorporate a little bit of Main Street?’”
Tyndall mentioned that in the past, Main Street has been shut down for several events and it would be very similar.
The council agreed that the entirety of Main Street would not have to be shut down and used for the farmers’ market, which would potentially go only to the section that intersects Pitts and Commerce Streets. That would will allow residents and drivers to be able to still use Main Street and get to their destinations, the council agreed.
“It will provide extra revenue to our shops, and it will provide extra revenue downtown,” Tyndall said. “It will also provide more room for people to social distance.”
Wells is thrilled with the idea.
“We love that the market is growing,” she said. “It shows the commitment to supporting our local farmers and businesses.”
The farmers’ market will take place every Sunday from until Aug. 30 on Pitts Street, Commerce Street and now the section of Main Street that intersects the two other streets. Local farmers and other vendors will sell everything from fresh produce to spirits, soap, coffee, baked goods and other materials.
As per the governor’s regulations, farmers markets are allowed to be open provided they are outdoors and ensure that patrons maintain the six-feet distance rule, as well as limit time and crowd size.
Shoppers and vendors must wear masks to protect themselves and are encouraged not to linger too long in the space. No more than two people may accompany each other, with the recommendation that children, senior family members and pets remain behind for safety’s sake.
Wells reminds the public that the town is simply following the guidelines provided by the Maryland Department of Agriculture and ask that residents do not bring their dogs to the market.
“Please do not bring your dogs,” Wells said. “It totally kills me, because we are so pet friendly. But unfortunately, for this period of time, not to the market.”
According to Wells, more vendors are being added to the market, including Mumford Shellfish, which is well known for its oysters sold at various local restaurants and scallops from a local aqua-farmer. In June, the market will be expecting Bennett Orchards to join as well, which offers a variety of fruits but are most famous for its blueberries and peaches.
The market is once again offering an early bird half-hour for seniors ages 60 and older to shop from 8:30-9 a.m.
The market will be offering recyclable shopping bags for $10. In addition, there will be a station set up that provides face masks for a donation to those who might not have one as well as hand sanitizers.
Wells reminds residents that customers should bring exact change to minimize the exchange of currency as much as possible, or bring other forms of payment like cheques or credit cards.
The council voted unanimously to pursue expanding the market into Main Street, with the exception of Councilmember Dean Burrell, who was absent. The council will also speak to Police Chief Arnold Downing to discuss potential guidelines.
For more information about the Berlin Farmers Market, contact Wells at email@example.com or call 410-629-1722.