Park City Farmers Market prepares for a clean start this year
This year’s Park City Farmers Market will be unlike any in the past due to the COVID-19 pandemic, says founder and organizer Volker Ritzinger.
The “outdoor grocery store,” as he calls it, will take every precaution to make sure patrons and producers stay healthy if it opens at noon on its projected date of June 10, he said.
“The first thing we’re going to do is only offer food,” Ritzinger said. “To do that, we will have to do away with the gifts and trinkets going forward.”
Applications are available online at parkcityfarmersmarket.com, he said.
The next change will be the layout, and lack of live music.
“We will have the booths separated between 10 to 15 feet apart, and people will have to wait one by one to go up to visit with the farmer,” Ritzinger said.
In addition, the market will reserve the first hour to accommodate senior citizens.
“We need to make sure they will be able to get what they need to keep healthy,” Ritzinger said. “And if they feel tired and need to sit down while they are waiting, we will have chairs for them.”
Ritzinger also plans to keep the market as clean as possible by sanitizing all cash and change with a cleaning tumbler that utilizes a wallpaper steamer and disinfectant, as well as “a bunch” of hand washing stations.
In addition, all producers will be required to wear Park City Farmers Market bandanas.
“We have ordered 2,000 of them, so we can all look like cowboys,” Ritzinger said. “Why not, eh? We’re in Park City.”
Volker said he hopes to continue hosting the market at the Silver King or Canyons Cabriolet lots at Park City Mountain Resort, in partnership with Vail Resorts.
“Vail has been so good to us over the years,” he said. “I’ve been with them for more than 20 years.”
Still, Ritzinger is also open to other locations that would give the farmers and producers a place where they can spread out.
“There are nice fields in Kamas that would be perfect, but I would just need some investors,” he said. “There is a seven-acre lot that is going for $400,000, and if we could get that, we could set up the market there. That way, people could drive a few minutes to get away.”
Ritzinger is also looking to set up closer to Park City, like at Richardson Flat at Quinn’s Junction. Although no special events, such as concerts, can be held at Richardson Flat, Ritzinger said his market isn’t a a concert.
“It’s a market, a large business, like a grocery store,” he said. “I pull the same permits and pay the same fees as a grocery store does, but in this case, the grocery store will be outdoors, without any aisles.”
Throughout all of the planning, Ritzinger has kept his eye on other farmers markets around the country, and four days ago, California announced that it will still allow its farmers markets to open during the statewide COVID-19 lockdown.
“They are doing this because people need produce,” Ritzinger said. “And we have some of the best produce in the world here.”
From day one, 22 years ago, Ritzinger’s goal for the Park City Farmers Market was to offer the best, organic produce and meats to the community.
“I’m working with strict rules, which are stricter now because of the shutdown,” he said. “Park City Farmers Market is my baby, and I want to be sure I have implemented all the best and safest rules we can. We have two-and-a-half to three months to prepare, and we want to make sure we can make a safe and clean set up.”
For information, visit parkcityfarmersmarket.com.
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