Early in the year, our market season seems to stretch out forever—and then all of a sudden it’s nearly complete. 24 markets down, only two to go! Thanks for your patience and steadfastness as we’ve navigated all of the “usual” uncertainties of the season (like growing conditions and market day weather) and the UNUSUAL uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our vendors are reporting that sales in 2020 exceeded their expectations—which means that you turned a truly sour “lemon” situation into lovely lemonade for many small farms and food makers.
Very soon, we’ll share detailed information about our plans to host November and December indoor markets at the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes. This fall, the market is moving to the large retail space that formerly housed Forever 21. We’re lining up vendors and carefully planning our COVID-19 safety measures for these indoor events…stay tuned!
As we contemplate indoor markets and the long winter ahead, safety and health are top of mind. As it happens, safety and health are ALWAYS top of mind at Maple Grove Hospital, the market’s presenting “Safer at the Market” sponsor for 2020. Maple Grove Hospital and North Memorial Health have rolled out a healthy checklist of strategies for this unique time. From flu shots to virtual doctor visits and beyond, this list will give you additional tools to navigate fall and winter.
Please join us in thanking Maple Grove Hospital for its ongoing care of the community. Their proactive sponsorship of the farmers market helps us to keep vendor fees reasonable and supports many of the ways we communicate with you.Read More
Just like that, it’s a new season. Mother Nature certainly turned on the sweatshirt weather to celebrate the traditional start of Minnesota’s school year! The cool temperatures and the sharpened pencils feel familiar, but like so many aspects of 2020, autumn feels different. School, work, and social routines have changed. From youngest to oldest we each have new roles and responsibilities to safeguard the health and success of the community.
That is just one of the reasons we’re grateful to Maple Grove Hospital, our 2020 Presenting “Safe at the Market” sponsor. As part of our shared commitment to your health, we want you to be aware of the four habits everyone can develop to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It feels great to know that these simple strategies will make a real difference in our efforts to get kids in school and keep them there.
At the farmers market, masks are required for all market workers and are highly recommended for shoppers. The market has a multitude of strategies in place to prevent congestion and encourage social distancing. Please make sure to snap a selfie with our fabulous six-foot-long North Memorial Health/Maple Grove Hospital llama. Share it to spread the word about the importance of physical distancing and the fun of the farmers market!
You’ll find soap-and-water handwash stations as well as hand sanitizer available for your use in multiple locations throughout the market. Finally, our vendors and staff are self-screening themselves for COVID-19 symptoms each and every day. We hope you’ve developed that habit, as well!Read More
We always want you to feel welcome and comfortable when shopping the market. We have recently heard questions and concerns from shoppers who wonder how the market is working at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a short list of timely Frequently Asked Questions to help you plan your visit.
Q: Does the market have special hours reserved for seniors and those with health concerns in light of COVID-19?
A: Early in the season, we asked shoppers to reserve 3:00-3:30 for our senior guests. We are no longer doing so. This isn’t out of disrespect or lack of care for those of you who are 55+ or immune-compromised. We simply don’t have the ability hold back the large number of shoppers who arrive between 2:45 and 3:30. We appreciate that YOU are reading this Q and A, but many shoppers just stop by when they see the signs around town. We don’t have enough space or staff to make them line up and wait until 3:30 without creating a traffic hazard. The market is much quieter between 5 and 7 and selection is still very good. If you like a less crowded atmosphere, please attend later!
Q: Are masks required?
A: Per MN Executive Order 20-81, all workers in the market are required to wear masks unless they fall into a medical exemption category. If a vendor is not wearing a mask, you can assume that they are exempt and that market management is aware of the fact. Customers are strongly encouraged to wear masks but it is not a requirement under current state or city laws. As such, we cannot require shoppers to wear them.
Q: When does the market open?
A: Customers are welcome to enter the market after 2:40 but sales do not begin until 3:00, when we sound an opening horn. NOTE: We routinely sound the horn 3-5 minutes early.
Q: Are children allowed in the market?
A: The market has always been a very family-friendly place and we cherish kids of all ages. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are grateful to families who can send just one or two people to do the family shopping for the week. This helps us to stay under our 250-person maximum customer capacity. However, we are not denying admission to families with children. We ask that families keep their children close by and move through the market as a unit.
We know that these times are unsettling and that shopping can be nerve-wracking. We want you to have all the information you need to plan your trip. Please visit our web site at www.maplegrovefarmersmarket.com for a complete and up-to-date list of our COVID-19 response strategies. Note that we are working carefully with state and city governments and Hennepin County Health Inspectors to comply with all relevant laws.
We also respectfully request your patience and kindness as we’re doing our best to stay open for our growers, food makers, and the community. I hope you will reach out to me directly at market or between markets to express your concerns. Remember, many of the people stationed at the market entrance are volunteers and hourly staff members working to serve you.
Thank you! Eat well this weekend!
Kirsten Bansen Weigle
PS–Have you noticed the beautiful chalk art by our volunteer Ruby? Isn’t she talented?Read More
It’s a joy to provide fresh, healthy food for the community, and food safety has always been a top priority for market operations. COVID-19 has caused dramatic changes in the market, pushing us to think about infectious disease and adopt new strategies to operate safely during the pandemic. It has been a season unlike any other, and we are truly grateful to have a community partner in Maple Grove Hospital.
Maple Grove Hospital is the market’s Presenting “Safe at the Market” sponsor. As part of our shared commitment to your health, we’ll be sharing the hospital’s information and resources related to COVID-19 and how market shoppers can remain safe while purchasing fresh food. This week’s timely topic is masks—how, when, and where to wear them, how they help to prevent the spread of disease, and how to maximize their effectiveness. Please enjoy this easy-to-understand overview from North Memorial Health.
Masks or face shields are strongly recommended for all market participants and are one of many strategies we’ve adopted to keep you safe and confident about shopping your “outdoor grocery store.” Handwash stations and hand sanitizer are available at each end of the market. We’ve designed our site to keep a constant six-foot distance between vendors and shoppers.
Watch for a new market mascot in the near future…a six-foot llama cut-out provided by Maple Grove Hospital to give you a real-life representation of what six feet really is. Get your cameras ready! Additionally, we have one-way traffic designed to help you maintain distance from fellow customers. The market has a maximum occupancy of 250 customers at any one time.
Wearing a mask or face shield is one way that you can mitigate risk, allowing the market—and your essential errands and activities–to continue safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please take a moment to review our COVID-19 plan at www.maplegrovefarmersmarket.com. We hope that the market continues to be a source of joy, nutrition, and connection through this year and into the future.
2020 Presenting Sponsor: Safe at the MarketRead More