The Market Must Go On

By Shelby Rowe Moyer

Summer, the season of breezy, carefree fun, is morphing into the season of creativity as businesses reopen and adapt to new public safety measures in the wake of the coronavirus.

Farmers markets around the state are making decisions about whether to open for their regular season, so we chatted with the Lake Geneva Farmer’s Market manager Sean Payne about how the Thursday market will be affected. Though the opening of the market was delayed, it will still be operating.

Here’s what to expect:

Schedule: Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.,May 28 to Oct. 29, Horticulture Hall, 330 Broad St., Lake Geneva.

Health and Safety: At least for the first few weeks, the market will have an adapted approach. Typically, vendors are set up inside and outside the hall, but for now, they will be exclusively outside. A handwashing station will be positioned at the beginning of the market, and vendors will be wrapped around the building, allowing for ease of flow.

All vendors will be positioned six feet apart with tables in front of their booths to create a barrier between themselves and customers. Vendor staff also will be wearing masks and gloves, with one person bagging merchandise and the other handling transactions to help prevent cross contamination, Payne says. When visiting a booth, customers can point to what they want, and the staff will assist them from there.

“We’re not going to enforce it, but we’re asking for six feet of social distancing and that (customers) wear a mask, and we’d prefer credit cards over cash,” he says, noting face masks are recommended by the Center of Disease Control

Vendors: The Lake Geneva Farmer’s Market generally hosts around 55 vendors, when it’s at full capacity, but right now it’s planning for about 30. And for now, only food vendors will be at the market, with fan favorites including Seven Seeds Kitchen’s famous Skordalia (an almond-based spread akin to hummus) and empanadas from Olano’s.

Food, however, cannot be eaten on site.

“Everyone is going to have to be patient,” Payne says. “It’s a whole new world for all of us. We’re all getting used to this.”

Public health measures are changing constantly, so it’s possible the market will change its approach as the season goes on. It’s possible, Payne says, that crafters and artists will be able to sell their goods at the market later this summer or fall.

A New Market

The first-ever Williams Bay Farmers Market will begin on May 22 and end Sept. 4 and is being held at Edgewater Park on East Geneva Street. The Friday market will host about 20 vendors, less than Payne was originally planning, due to the coronavirus.

The new market is benefitting Santa Cause, a major Walworth County charity event and will be similar to the Lake Geneva market in regard to vendors, Payne says.