Originally set to start this Sunday, May 10, the Logan Square Farmers Market 2020 outdoor season has been postponed until further notice. The mayor’s office scuttled the opening over health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic, though organizers had announced a slew of new safety measures. It is unclear when the official first day of the 2020 outdoor season will arrive, but customers are encouraged to check the Logan Square Farmers Market’s website or sign up for the newsletter for updates.
“The LSFM is cancelled until further notice” the market said in a Facebook post Thursday, while adding, “Don’t worry we will return this summer!” Organizers of the market, which is put on by the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce, also encouraged customers to support vendors through the event’s virtual marketplace. Check that site for a collection of Logan Farmers Market vendors with online stores, along with a list showing which ones offer delivery and pick-up at sites like the Dill Pickle Co-op (2746 N. Milwaukee Ave.).
Vendors are still eager to get back to selling in person, though. “Like most farmers and vendors at the market, it’s about our livelihoods, and the window of summer opens and closes quick enough already,” said owner and operator of the American Pride Microfarm tent, Bradford Hathaway. “Many folks in the neighborhood have come to depend on the Farmers Market for high-quality, direct-from-farmer produce, just as the farmers depend on” those customers.
New Precautions and New Challenges
When the market does return, it may look a lot different from previous years. Organizers had already announced a set of precautions to ensure the safety of both vendors and patrons.
The new guidelines impose rules never before seen at the Farmers Market. Shoppers must wear masks and be symptom free, shopping is limiting to one party per household, and customers must wash their hands at stations at the market’s entrance before coming inside. Market organizers have also placed a 5-minute limit on time spent per vendor and will allow only 100 people in the market at one time. All customers will have to check in at the info booth located at the Milwaukee Avenue entrance before entering the market.
New safety measures, organizers said, have increased operational costs while revenue has plummeted for the market. So they are also asking the community to donate to keeping the market going. You can give here.
“This market season will be our most challenging yet, and we need your help,” market organizers said in a Facebook post announcing the new guidelines. “Your donation will allow us to see another year of gracing the boulevards with fresh, local food and sustaining the livelihood of farmers.”
Vendors face new guidelines, too, including rules mandating the wearing of masks and limiting the number of employees at a tent to two. The market encourages vendors to have one staff member handle payment and the other make contact with the product. Organizers also said, before the May 10 start date was canceled, that as the market returns, “for the first two months, our focus is our community of farmers who rely on their direct sales at markets.”
The steps taken have been widely accepted by vendors at the market. Hathaway said he was very pleased with the effort put forth to open the market as well as all the safety precautions. Vendors and market managers came to an agreement on the new guidelines over a Zoom meeting.
Senior Hours and More Changes
The Farmers Market will now also host a priority shopping hour starting at 9 a.m. for seniors, people who are immunocompromised, pregnant parents and others with an elevated risk for severe illness with COVID-19. The hours for all other customers will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Additional changes to the market include one-way routing of shopper traffic and the creation a distinctive entrance and two exits. Shoppers will enter on Milwaukee Avenue and exit at either Logan Boulevard or Whipple Street. Each farmer or vendor booth will have a waiting line.
Featured photo: Tom Vlodek