BERLIN – The Berlin Farmers Market has been extended through September.
Ivy Wells, the town’s economic and community development director, said this week the market had been extended because of demand.
“Historically we’ve been extending the market longer in the season based on demand,” she said. “The popularity of the market has really increased this year.”
The market, which is held each Sunday from usually 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., currently features 30 vendors. The market kicked off its 2020 season in May with physical distancing and face mask requirements to limit the spread of COVID-19. To allow for space between vendors, it was extended so that booths are set up along both Pitts Street and Commerce Street. Though there were some who weren’t aware of the market’s face mask requirement early on, Wells said there are no issues with it now.
“That’s because the awareness is there, and the fact that cases are rising and people realize it’s super important,” she said.
Wells said business has been strong at the market in recent weeks. That, paired with the greenhouses many farmers now have to expand their growing capabilities, has allowed the market to lengthen its season.
“As long as our farmers keep growing, we’ll keep the market going,” she said. “We want to continue to support our local farmers and offer the Berlin community access to fresh, local food right in their own backyards.”
Wells said she’d participated in a meeting regarding farmers markets throughout the state and found that all were doing well in spite of the pandemic.
“The consensus was how people all over the state look forward to them each week,” she said.
In Berlin, an added benefit to the market has been the impact it’s had on local shops. After this spring’s forced closures as a result of the pandemic, many merchants are opening their shops early on Sundays to draw in farmers market customers.
“It was a real boost to our local economy for the farmers and our local businesses,” she said.
Wells added that the market was appreciated by town residents as well.
“I see people walking with their kids pulling wagons full of produce,” she said.
Wells, already looking ahead to the 2021 market, said she was discussing the concept of an indoor farmers market at the old Southern States building, which is being taken over by the connections of OCM Crabs.
“That could potentially be an indoor farmers market which would be really nice,” she said. “I’m working with them on that possibility.”