Park City Farmers Market opens at PCMR with limited number of vendors
What: Park City Farmers Market
When: Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-noon for senior citizens; noon - 5 p.m. for general public
Where: Silver King parking lot at Park City Mountain Resort
The wait is over.
The Park City Farmers Market was slated to open Wednesday, June 17, at Park City Mountain Resort’s Silver King lot after a two-week postponement, said founder and organizer Volker Ritzinger.
Ritzinger and PCMR delayed the opening to make sure both parties saw eye to eye regarding COVID-19 guidelines, Ritzinger said.
“We wanted to make sure it was going to be safe for our Summit County residents,” he said.
This year’s market, which will open to senior citizens each week at 11 a.m. before opening the gates to the general public at noon, will follow a list of social distancing guidelines Volker and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food worked on together.
“I always want to be the best farmers market among the surrounding states, so I was working on these ideas three months ago when COVID became an issue,” he said.
The first thing attendees will notice is the size of the market.
“First and foremost we’ll start off small with 20 or so vendors,” Ritzinger said. “We’ve cut things down to just farmers and food-related products. But there will be no food sampling, and no crafts or clothing for a while.”
Ritzinger did, however, receive a letter from the Department of Agriculture and Food indicating he could let in non-food vendors at his discretion, but he decided to wait a few more weeks before he makes a decision, he said.
Secondly, the vendors’ tents will be set 10 feet apart, and each tent will feature at least two workers.
“One person will handle the money and payments and the other will handle the produce,” Ritziner said. “All the people who work at the farmers market will be required to wear gloves, and they will sanitize all of their equipment between transactions. That way we can be super safe.”
In addition, handwashing stations will be set up at every fifth booth, and there will be separate entrance and exit points to create a linear flow of pedestrian traffic, according to Ritzinger.
“We want people to come in, get their food and produce and move on,” he said. “So we won’t have tables out for people to sit and gather, either. We may set some chairs sporadically throughout the market so people can take a rest if they need to, but we don’t want them hanging out too much.”
To help with the flow of customer traffic, this year’s farmers market won’t feature live music like it has in the past, Ritzinger said.
“We may play some recorded classical music to set the mood, but we won’t have any entertainment,” he said.
Attendees are required to maintain a 6-foot radius from other attendees, but aren’t required to wear masks, Ritzinger said.
“The governor said masks aren’t mandatory (in Utah), but people can wear them if they want,” Ritzinger said. “We will also hand out bandanas to people who come without a mask and decide they want to wear one.”
One of the main reasons the Park City Farmers Market, and other farmers markets in the state, are allowed to open is because they aren’t considered special events, Ritzinger said.
“The governor declared that farmers markets are essential for the community for local residents to get food,” he said. “The same permit I get from the Department of Agriculture to open a farmers market is the same permit given to grocery stores.”
That means if any of the vendors violate one or more of the guidelines, Ritzinger will face the consequences.
“I’m responsible for every farmer and vendor who participates,” he said. “So if they don’t follow the rules, it’s my fault.”
Even if Ritzinger followed all the rules, the Park City Farmers Market wouldn’t be able to open without the support of Park City Mountain Resort, and its Chief Operating Officer Mike Goar.
“I worked with Mike from the beginning when we opened almost 20 years ago, and I’m glad to have continued our relationship over the years,” he said. “We’re looking forward to a good season of making the best organic and non-GMO food and produce available to Summit County residents. The farmers had a super easy spring, and they are excited to come up.”
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