Burlington Farmers Market reopens with new guidelines

Published: Jun. 6, 2020 at 7:28 PM EDT
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The Burlington Farmer’s Market reopened on Saturday for the first time since the pandemic began.

There are some changes to the shopping experience. Customers must wear a mask, sanitize their hands and keep their pets at home. Everyone is also encouraged to send only one person from each household to shop. Face coverings are available at the entrance for anyone who doesn’t have one.

The new layout ensures more space between booths and creates a safe distance between customers and vendors. Once you enter, you can only move through the market in one direction. You’ll see signs directing the flow of one-way traffic.

“I think that’s a good idea to kind of help enforce social distancing and disperse crowds. Kind of keeps everything moving,” said Tom Weaver.

“I feel like it’s kind of the way it would work anyway, in terms of you walk through and you see what you want to see and then you get what you want to get. Feels kind of normal,” said Chris Spodick.

Vendors say one thing that didn’t feel as normal was the crowd size.

“It’s definitely different than it used to be,” said Eric White of Plum Hill Farm. “We used to have five or 6,000 people and today, maybe a third of that.”

White says he made about $700 less than what he would make on a typical pre-pandemic Saturday. But he says he’s not too worried about the financial impact since he mainly sells fruit and most of his crops won’t come in until July.

For some vendors, the financial toll has been significant, especially people like Bette Lambert, whose customer base is predominantly tourists.

“Tourism is very big for us. Both at the markets and agri-tourism at our farm,” she said. “We do tours there and give samples and it’s been pretty flat. Plus the restaurant business. So we’ll be glad when things open back up.”

Lambert says she expects lower sales until then.

As vendors adjust to smaller crowds and changes, some say they’ll continue selling on different platforms.

“I fortunately have been able to make up most of the lost sales through online sales because people are shopping online and I have a pretty robust online presence,” said V. Smiley of V. Smiley Preserves.