WILMINGTON — In preparation for the premiere on June 14, the Wilmington Farmer’s Market held a dry run this past Sunday. The purpose was to fine-tune the process that will be used this summer as the market reopens for drive-through service every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the parking lot at the 4th of July Building.
While Marketing Coordinator and Webmaster for the Farmer’s Market Board of Directors Christine Canevari expressed disappointment for this summer’s market not being what they were expecting to offer, she said that they’re adapting and remaining open thanks to the support of the town, shoppers, and their vendors.
“Our town was really supportive,” Canevari said.
Part of the reason that they’re still able to open for the summer is because of the town offering the 4th of July Building parking lot for the test run and the Board of Selectmen and Board of Health providing social distancing guidance that could still be followed.
The Farmer’s Market Board of Directors is made up of six volunteers who are passionate about bringing fresh, local food to Wilmington. This group has been together on the board for about three years all together, although the board was officially launched back in 2010. Each member helps organize and run the farmer’s market.
Current President Dana Burnham said the group was also formed from the support of other nearby farmer’s markets. Their first farmer’s market in Wilmington was held in 2011.
The board’s six members established a plan for Sunday’s test run based on what the town was comfortable with and what other markets in the area are planning during this pandemic. Instead of just showing up and shopping around, folks were asked to register online for a pickup time with the farmer’s market and then order in advance with their vendor of choice.
They drove up and stayed in the car for the most part, and vendors only came to the passenger side of the car.
“The beauty is that because we are outside, it’s easy to maintain distance,” Christine Canevari continued. “Anything that we could do to eliminate person-to-person contact, we did.”
Between vendors, volunteers, and market-goers, everyone was required to wear masks.
This plan allocated for seven vendors, four volunteers, and just over 100 pickup timeslots on Sunday from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. What they learned, according to Canevari, was that they could safely accommodate more than twice the timeslots that they offered. She said that they want to open up the market to ideally three more vendors going forward for a total of 10, to maximize the variety without causing a traffic jam.
While the ordering in advance online was new and unique to each vendor, for the most part it didn’t sway anyone from participating.
Burnham spoke to the support of the people participating in the market in the new online process.
“People were flexible, good spirited, and cooperative,” Burnham shared.
The only other thing they want to add in the future are more signs instructing people inside their cars to remain in line even if they have already completed the pick-up. She expressed their excitement to expand their offerings for the first market of the summer as they celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Wilmington Farmer’s Market.
To sign up for June 14 or any other Sunday until October 11, people are invited to select a timeslot first at www.wilmingtonfarmersmarket.com and then follow the ordering instructions for the relevant vendor. The website will be updated with available timeslots and vendors for selection each Monday, with sign-ups ending on Saturday.
Current vendors listed on the WFM website include Seafood Express, Polish Prince Pierogi, Samira’s Homemade, Red Antler Apothecary, Purple Carrot Artisan Breads, North of Boston Farm, and Cupcake City.