The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has caused changes to the New Albany Farmers Market – most notably its location.
The market, which has been held in past years on Market Square in front of the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, will have its 10th season Thursdays in the New Albany Church of the Resurrection parking lot at 6300 E. Dublin-Granville Road, said Jackie Krebs, a market manager.
The market will begin June 25 and run through Sept. 10, Krebs said. Hours are 4 to 7 p.m.
The location change was made so that enough space is available to allow for social distancing, Krebs said.
Sue Larson, business manager for the Church of the Resurrection, said the church's relationship with the market began just over 10 years ago, when it allowed the market to hold its winter season in the building's social hall.
The church always has been a part of the Market Square community, Larson said. Its parking lot has been a launch place for community parades and a spot for residents to watch fireworks, she said.
"It's really about being a community partner," she said.
Krebs said the market is "very fortunate" that the church offered its parking lot for the summer season.
Although the pandemic has decreased the number of vendors who typically participate, the drop was not as big as managers initially expected, Krebs said.
In a normal season, 50 to 55 vendors participate, Krebs said. This summer, 40 to 45 vendors will participate, she said.
A few vendors in a more vulnerable age category declined to participate, and other vendors have gone out of business because of the pandemic and do not have the finances to participate, she said.
Vendors will sell meat, eggs, cheese, produce, breads and bakery goods, honey, syrups, flour, sauces and gluten-free items, Krebs said.
In addition, customers will be able to bring bags of compost to deposit at the market, and a vendor will be available to sharpen knives or garden tools, she said.
Vendors will be spaced much farther apart than in previous seasons, Kreb said. Employees, volunteers and vendors will be required to wear masks, and customers will be asked to wear them.
"It is not required, but it is a guideline we are asking them to follow," Krebs said.
The market will have a designated entrance and a designated exit to keep track of customer counts, Krebs said. Market organizers are planning to admit about 120 people at a time, although that figure could fluctuate, she said.
Mandatory guidelines from the state include keeping at least 6 feet of distance between people and providing hand sanitizer and sanitizing products for employees and customers, Krebs said. High Bank Distillery Co. is donating sanitizer, she said.
Another mandatory guideline stipulates the market must provide separate operating hours for vulnerable populations, Krebs said. That will be done from 4 to 4:30 p.m. on Thursdays, she said.
For another state requirement, the market will provide online and remote access to customers, Krebs said. Information about online purchases or orders will be available at healthynewalbany.org, she said.
No product sampling will be allowed at the markets, Krebs said.
Food trucks will be featured, but they will be in an adjacent parking lot.
Customers may text their orders or order at the window and wait in their vehicles, Krebs said.
No dining is allowed at the market or in the parking lots, she said.
Customers also are prohibited from bringing dogs, which was permitted in previous seasons, she said, and the market will not have live music.
"We don't want to encourage gatherings of people lingering and hanging out," Krebs said.
Requests that are not mandatory include asking customers to arrive with only one friend or family member and asking them to use hand sanitizer upon entering the market, Krebs said.
People who have been ill or exhibiting coronavirus symptoms are asked to stay home, she said.
Customers will be asked to refrain from touching the products so vendors can bag them, Krebs said.
"It's definitely going to have a little bit of a different feel," she said.
Jim Cushing, a Blacklick resident and owner of Charlotte & Olivia's Sublime Ice Creams, said this season would be his ninth with the market.
"I think the New Albany Farmers Market is amazing," he said.
All of his business is conducted either via online or farmers markets, Cushing said.
He said he plans to sell an Ice Cream Social (Distancing) Sampler pack that includes such flavors as "Wash Your Hands" and "Flatten the Curve."