The Powell Chamber Farmers Market will open as planned from 9 a.m. to noon May 23, welcoming vendors and customers to 240 N. Liberty St.
Expect some noticeable changes in the market for 2020, the result of health guidelines that were put in place in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Greater Powell Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Pam Miller said she expects about 20 vendors to participate.
She said she has worked with the Delaware General Health District and longtime market vendors to create a workable plan that benefits customers and vendors while abiding by health guidelines.
"It's been a lot of back and forth with the health department, but we got it done," Miller said.
She said the customers would see an altered layout for the vendor booths because of the need to maintain 6-foot social distancing at all times. Other safety and sanitation practices put in place include no tablecloths for vendor booths, no tasting/samples, hand sanitizer available for vendors and customers, masks and gloves for all vendors.
Additionally, the farmers market will be open from 9 to 9:30 a.m. each Saturday exclusively for senior citizens and individuals with health conditions that put them at high risk for infection, Miller said.
"Vendors have appreciated the work. We had some who didn't like the idea of a drive-thru market, which we've seen done in some places, so being able to have customers on-site, even with all the restrictions, was what most of our folks wanted," Miller said.
"We were thrilled Powell was able to do walk-up," said Jason Wish of Wishwell Farms. "Our biggest crop is tomatoes, which we grow hydroponically early in the season. Things like that, like strawberries and, later on, sweet corn -- those are things people like to see, smell and touch."
Wish said he also has added online ordering because some of the other markets where he sells produce are not offering walk-up service yet.
"People can pre-pay and pick up if that feels safer. They have both options," he said, explaining that those options soon are expected to be available in Powell.
"I'm thankful we have the place to be able to sell," Kingdom Fish owner Don Jones said. "They are a huge part of what we do. We make most of our income from May to October."
The farm-raised-fish and produce vendor said he prefers the walk-up format "because people don't expect to find fish at a farmers market. It's important for us to be able to talk to people, explain our process and, hopefully, gain new regular customers."
"And I just like that social aspect," Jones said. "I like talking to people. I understand the atmosphere we're in means maybe people are more reluctant to come up and spend some time talking. It's not going to be the same, but I still prefer it to drive-thru."