By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
Social distancing rules will apply for patrons, vendors per state’s guidelines
(April 30, 2020) The third annual Berlin Farmers Market might be unconventional this year, but it will still kick off its season this Sunday, when it opens from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The farmers market will take place every Sunday from May 3 to Aug. 30 on Pitts Street, where local farmers and other vendors will sell everything from fresh produce to wines, flowers, art and tools.
As per the governor’s regulations amid the coronavirus pandemic, farmer’s markets are allowed to run 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.
“I’m following the guidelines set forth by Maryland Department of Agriculture,” Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells said. “It totally kills me, because we are so pet-friendly. In Berlin, all of our events always, always welcome pets. But unfortunately, for this period of time, not to the market [until further notice].”
Opening weekend will have 13 vendors, comprised of Baked Dessert Café, Baywater Farms, Cross Farms, DelVecchio, Gilbert’s Provisions, Una Bella Salute, Lyon Distilling Company, Cherry Walk Garden and Preserves, Home Canning Classics, The Bay Mushrooms, Splendid Earth Acres and Berlin Sconer.
Customers can expect to see fresh produce, baked goods, oils and vinegars, spirits and flowers this weekend.
More vendors will join when they are allowed (assuming the restrictions are lifted or relaxed), Wells said, and another three farmers are still preparing or growing their products.
“When people are involved in a crisis, the first thing that is always concerning to people are where they’re going to get their food,” Wells said. “I think that it proves the point that Shop Local is extremely important to support our local farmers is now even more important today than it has ever been.
“We in Berlin have known that the entire time,” she continued. “So we’ve always been a supporter of our local farmers, and now, even more so in an open air market.”
In addition, the market will offer a special early bird half hour for seniors ages 60 and older to shop from 8:30-9 a.m.
“I wanted to make sure that seniors could feel safe when they come,” Wells said. “But because the market has always gone from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., I didn’t want to have people show up at 9 wondering why they couldn’t go in. I asked the farmers if they would consider opening up early, and we decided that they could be there and set up a half hour early at 8:30 a.m.”
In the past, the market has offered live music and children’s arts and crafts. These activities will not be offered until the governor lessens his restrictions on social gatherings.
The market will be offering recyclable shopping bags for $10.
Wells warned that there will only be two entrances to the farmer’s market, as the bank parking lot will be blocked in order to follow regulations.
“You can either get there via the intersection of William and Pitt Street, or Main and Pitt Street,” she said. “I have signs being printed up with the market rules that will be placed at those locations you can’t enter.”
For more information, contact Wells at email@example.com or call 410-629-1722.