'Modified' Woodstock Farmers Market to open June 7th
Back in 2010, the Woodstock Farmers Market was started with the dedicated efforts of the former owners of Papaccino's Coffee, Sean and Rachelle Daugherty – along with a handful of other neighbors from Woodstock and adjoining neighborhoods.
Emily Murnen, a Mt. Scott-Arleta resident, stepped up in January of that year to be Market Manager – and the Market is fortunate to still have her in that role, ten years later!
The current Market Board President, Karena Gruber held a virtual "ZOOM" online meeting on April 13th, so that the all-volunteer board market organizers could discuss plans for an upcoming summer in which the Market will have to be physically modified to allow for social distancing, and practicing other precautions for keeping shoppers safe from spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus.
After that meeting, Murnen commented, "Our focus [this year] is on keeping everyone safe, while connecting our community with the amazing vendors who grow and produce our food."
Market Treasurer Peggy McCafferty e-mailed plans for funding that begins immediately, and for future market protocols.
"Almost all of our fundraising comes from small neighborhood businesses, many of which are currently closed for the duration of the stay-at-home order. We're also having to move the vendor booths farther apart for safety, which means we will be losing about one third of our 'stall fee' income, that allows us to pay for things like port-a-potties, hand-washing stations, garbage, signage, and one or two on-site seasonal staff members."
She mentioned that all Board Members make their own donation at the start of the season as a way of helping to financially support the market, but that will not be nearly enough this year.
"So we've started a 'GoFundMe' to ask for help keeping the market, and our vendors, going this year, so that we can come back full force – kids! music! – next season." The online link for this public contribution opportunity is – www.gofundme.com/f/save-the-woodstock-farmers-market
When the Market opens on Sunday, June 7th, shoppers will be encouraged – if possible – to pre-order online, ahead of time, from their favorite vendors. There will be more details about all market changes and expectations, including online ordering, on the Woodstock Farmers Market website, and in another article in the June issue of THE BEE.
Murnen reported, after the April 13th virtual meeting, "There will be a lot more coordination to help vendors and shoppers navigate the new online ordering – and there will also be a lot of coordination during the market, in order to enact the social-distancing measures needed to keep everyone safe."
Market Board Members explain that ordering online, when possible, will limit the time people will have to be physically at the market. While in line, people will be asked to touch only what they are going to buy, and try to limit their time in the market to no more than thirty minutes.
In addition, they are asking for only ONE family member to shop, which means children should stay at home, or somewhere else safe, if possible. They realize that this could be tough for families, and certainly a sad thing, given the fun that children and children's activities add to the market – but it is safest in this time of COVID-19.
So the Woodstock Farmers Market will be simplified this year – no music, either – but it will still be a great way to get fresh, healthful produce throughout the summer.
McCafferty added that vendors will be asked to pre-package their produce, for the least handling possible. That way, for example, instead of your being able to pick out a few individual yellow potatoes, you'll have the option of buying a small, medium, or large bag of potatoes from a vendor.
Market Board Members emphasize that the Market absolutely does need to take place this summer – not only for the benefit of shoppers, but also for the small vendors who rely on the Market for their primary source of income.
McCafferty reflects, "And we especially need to be there for our low-income SNAP shoppers, who rely on our matching program to keep fresh fruits and vegetables on their family tables during this unprecedented time."
The market website, for information and eventually for ordering, is – www.woodstockmarketpdx.com
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