Recently, we have observed visitors to the Farmers’ Market leaving their dogs in parked cars. It is dangerously hot inside a car for a dog, even on days as low as 70 degrees, especially with the lack of shade in the high school parking lot. Under no circumstance should a dog be left in a car when the temperature exceeds 70 degrees.
The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Farmers’ Market has temporarily moved to Brunswick High School in order to adapt to COVID-19 and despite the promising start at the first market of the season, the numbers are down. Alex Lear recently covered the topic in an article in the Forecaster.
Despite a slight uptick in traffic from the year before on opening day, the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Farmers’ Market has seen decreased numbers in the following weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Several factors are at play, according to Jacqui Koopman, the market’s manager: Not all vendors are back, only one member per household is asked to attend, and the market is at a different site this year.
Koopman said 632 vehicles were counted at the May 2 start of this year’s market, up from 625 on opening day the prior year. But last Saturday saw 599 cars, down from 829 last year.
“We didn’t know what to expect” prior to opening, she said. “I know that we are a very popular market and we have a loyal following. And I also know that people are shopping more at farmers markets because it’s outdoors and it’s safer, and access to local food is easier that way.”
Still, “things are in flux,” which may have an impact on numbers, Koopman said.
If you are planning to visit the Farmers’ Market this season, please remember that we have some important changes to keep our community safe and continue supporting local farms during this challenging time.
- Send one shopper per household to the Market. We need to limit the number of people at the Market. Of course, logical exemptions exist for those who cannot get out independently. Please also leave your pets at home!
- Come with a purpose and shop quickly. Please limit your time at the Market by coming with a list and planning your visit before arriving. Click here to view a map of the Market layout at Brunswick High School.
- No congregating. While we take pride in the community we have cultivated at our Farmers’ Market, we need to limit the amount of congregating and socializing at the Market.
- Wear a mask and bring hand sanitizer.
- Stay home if you feel ill or have been around someone who is sick.
- Stay at least six feet away from others.
- There are no outhouses available to customers.
The BTLT Farmers’ Market is temporarily being held at Brunswick High School. The Market is open to the general public every Saturday from 9:00am-12:30pm and high risk populations are exclusively permitted to shop from 8:30-9:00am.
Click here to learn about the other Farmers’ Markets in our area.
We look forward to seeing you this Saturday!
BTLT’s Farmers’ Market has made the temporary move to Brunswick High School and although we certainly miss Crystal Spring Farm, we are so grateful for the opportunity to keep supporting our farms and community at our Farmers’ Market! Along with a change in location, we have implemented guidelines for vendors and customers to keep our community safe. Click here to learn more and visit the link below to see photos from the first market at the High School.
By Hannah LaClaire, May 3, 2020
Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust was recently in the Bangor Daily News and The Portland Press Herald for our news about the Farmers’ Market temporarily moving to Brunswick High School. The Farmers’ Market will open on Saturday, May 2 from 8:30 – 12:30, with the first half hour dedicated to those customers who are high risk for COVID-19. Visit our recent blog post to learn all the new guidelines in response to COVID-19.
By Peggy Grodinsky, May 2, 2020
By Hannah LaClaire, April 27, 2020
By Sande Updegraph, May 1, 2020
BTLT’s Farmers’ Market open every Saturday, starting May 2, at Brunswick High School, 116 Maquoit Road in Brunswick, from 9:00-12:30 for the general public. From 8:30-9:00 we will allow only high-risk populations to shop.
The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) has hosted one of the busiest, best-loved farmers’ markets in the state for over two decades at our picturesque Crystal Spring Farm (CSF) in Brunswick. This year, however, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will start our season hosting Saturday market at the Brunswick High School.
“We know how important this market is for getting food to our community and for our farmers’ and producers’ livelihoods,” said BTLT Director of Programs Nikkilee (Lee) Cataldo. “There was never a question of if we would open the market this season. Just a question of how we could do it safely.”
Deemed “essential businesses,” farmers’ markets across the state are scrambling to figure out how to get local food to consumers, while keeping both vendors and customers safe. The State of Maine and Maine Federation of Farmers Markets have provided valuable guidance, but every market is unique and poses its own challenges in the era of COVID-19. Something we knew we needed for the market was more space to allow for adequate distancing between vendors and customers.
The extensive parking lots at Brunswick High School allow for vendors and customers to spread out more than the typically crowded Crystal Spring Farm market site. “People have been asking for years why we don’t spread our market out in the expansive fields at CSF, and I’m sure they will ask this year too,” Cataldo commented. “But everyone forgets – the thing that makes the farm so wonderful for hosting the market is also what keeps us on the market green – active agriculture. Those fields were conserved to be farmed, not to be more parking,”
It is not just the location that will be different. We are implementing a host of other precautions we want the community to be aware of, including:
- From 8:30-9:00 the market will only be open for shopping by high-risk populations including seniors, the immunocompromised, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and caregivers;
- There will be no outhouse available to customers; and
- The number of customers permitted in the market at any time will be limited, so attendees should be prepared to wait and/or come at mid- to late-morning, times that tend to be less busy.
In addition, we are asking all customers to:
- Follow all CDC guidelines
- Stay home if you feel ill or have been around someone who is sick
- Wear a mask at all times
- Bring hand sanitizer
- Stay at least six feet away from others
- Send only one person per family to shop
- Keep your visit as brief as possible to assure everyone has an opportunity to shop.
EBT/SNAP and Harvest Bucks will still be available at the market.
Vendors are also adapting to the move with adjustments to booth layout, how they handle payment, and spacing guidelines. All have been asked to provide pre-order options (learn more about each vendor’s availability at www.btlt.org/farmers-market) and grab-and-go to keep customers moving efficiently through the market. “I am heartened by the response of our vendors who are ready to step up to the plate despite the significant adjustments to our regular market procedures,” said Market Manager, Jacqui Koopman. “A few of our vendors will begin a few weeks later in the season, but most will be with us on opening day.”
We are so grateful to the Town of Brunswick and the Brunswick School Department for the use of the BHS grounds, and for figuring everything out so quickly. “Having the roads, parking lots, and space of the high school is going to make a huge difference in being able to have a safe but robust market for our community. We couldn’t have done it without their support,” said Cataldo. She also noted how different it will be not to start the season with the “celebratory” feeling of community coming together at CSF. “We are all looking forward to being back at Crystal Spring Farm, but for now, we’re just glad to be able to continue to support our local food economy and help assure access to fresh, healthy food for our community. And at least market shoppers will be able to look out across the blueberry fields to Crystal Spring Farm property!”
Spring is usually such a pleasant, hopeful time. My family loves getting in the garden, watching birds, and checking in on all the new green sprouts and buds emerging each day. There are a host of BTLT programs that always feel as much like the start of spring as the crocuses and warblers – the Taking Root Plant Sale, Spring Birding Extravaganza, and Saturday Farmers Market at Crystal Spring Farm all make us know that the season has really changed.
Unfortunately, this season, as BTLT endeavors to keep our community safe in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak, these programmatic harbingers of spring in many cases will not happen, and in others will have a very different feel that we are typically used to. Please read below for updates on all of your favorite BTLT spring programming.
- Taking Root Plant Sale – the sale has been cancelled for this spring, BUT we are taking this opportunity to establish a nursery of unique and heirloom perennials as a source of plans for sales for years to come. We hope that you will still consider potting up a few of your favorite perennials, and donating them to us so that we can cultivate them to share with the community over the coming years. The Plant Sale is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and your donation this year will help to support the Tom Settlemire Community Garden for years to come.
- Tom Settlemire Community Garden – the Garden was designated by the State as an Essential Business, and will be open to families who wish to grow their own food. There are still plots available if you’d like to join us! We will also continue to work with volunteers to grow the hundreds of pounds of fresh produce that we donate each year to Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program. We have established a set of protocols for plotholders and a new volunteer policy to keep our plotholders and volunteers safe at the Garden. One of those guidelines is that the Garden is NOT OPEN to the general public for visitation at this time. If you are interested in renting a plot for your family, or would like to volunteer, please contact email@example.com.
- Spring Birding Extravaganza – Our collaborative birding outings will not be happening, at least through May. We are considering scheduling bird walks of some kind during the summer if social distancing regulations are relaxed at that time. We are also working to share virtual birding trips with you on our website and social media. We also welcome the community to share their adventures with us, we might share your short film on our YouTube channel. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’ve got something to share.
- Saturday Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm – Farmers Markets are an essential business statewide, and we have been working diligently to assure that our market will be open to the community this spring. The Market is very likely to be hosted in an alternative location to allow for greater distancing and regulation of crowds. Watch the BTLT website and social media for updates.