The ALMH Market will open its “fifth season of fresh” on Saturday, May 16 at 8:00 am at the Logan County Fairgrounds expo building in Lincoln. Originally scheduled for a May 9 opening, the extra time will allow planners to establish a safety plan during the COVID-19 pandemic. While farmers markets have been deemed essential by the Governor’s Executive Order, the format will not be what planners had originally expected for its fifth anniversary season.
“The market during the pandemic won’t be what we had originally planned but the health of our community and the vendors is our first priority,” said Chelsie Campbell, farmers market coordinator.
Over the past several weeks, planners have been researching operations of markets nearby and in cities across the country to ensure the safest experience possible. The market’s safety plan will provide guidelines for vendors and shoppers. For example, a limited number of customers may be enforced, a designated entrance/exit will be marked and the market will designate a shopping path to ensure social distancing. Customers and vendors will be required to wear face masks per the Governor’s Stay at Home Order.
“The sense of community that The Market provides means a great deal to us, but the COVID-19 crisis requires us to focus on the core function of the market which is to provide access to fresh, local produce. That means for now we are hosting an in-and-out market as recommended by the Illinois Farmers Market Association,” said Campbell.
To discourage gathering, The ALMH Market is temporarily suspending all programming and activities traditionally held at the market until further notice. Several market vendors are now offering, for the first time, online ordering and pick up to create a more convenient experience. The ALMH Market will still be offering a matching program for participants of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) including triple match on the third Saturday of each month.
As the COVID-19 pandemic situation evolves, market planners will respond accordingly to return The Market to its normal operations as responsibly and quickly as possible.
The season plans to open on May 16 with the following vendors in attendance: Abe’s, Brooks’s Kountry Honey, Hilltop Community Gardens, Ieorger Family Farmers, Knead Bread, Lawrence Family Farms, Nuthatch Hill BBQ Co., Odelehr Farms, Primordia Foods, Flossie and Delzena’s, Samantha Danosky, The Tony Cannoli, Thompson Family Farm and Toohill Seed and Beef Service. More vendors have been confirmed to join the market as the growing season continues.
“We look forward to bringing back our typical programming and to encourage gathering in the future. Thank you for your patience and support as we work through this together. And thank you for supporting our local vendors,” said Campbell.
The Market plans to continue on Saturdays from 8am – 12pm through September 26 but acknowledges the need to be flexible during these unprecedented times. Online ordering for select vendors will be available shortly at thealmhmarket.org. For updates visit thealmhmarket.org or facebook.com/thealmhmarket.