Park City Farmers Market will continue into October
What: 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
Volker Ritzinger has announced an extended schedule for the Park City Farmers Market.
His plan is to keep his weekly open-air grocery store at Park City Mountain Resort’s Silver King lot open through October.
“We want to be open at least the first three weeks, and if there are still produce available, we’ll go for the fourth week,” Ritzinger said. “If the farmers still have stuff left after that, we may even go the first week of November, because we want to be open as long as the last farmer has an apple on the tree.”
One of the reasons why Ritzinger wants to keep the market open is because he had to open two weeks late, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Ritzinger had worked with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to come up with social-distancing guidelines that were also implemented with other farmers markets throughout the state.
Those guidelines require all the vendors to wear masks, and call for patrons to maintain a 6-foot space between each other while they wait in lines, Ritzinger said.
“These lines were sometimes 300 feet long,” he said. “So we hired extra people to help control the lines and make sure people are socially distancing themselves.”
Ritzinger also set up a number of hand-sanitizing stations throughout the market, designated an entry and exit and opened early from 11 a.m. to noon to accommodate the elderly and others who are part of the high-risk population.
“We also preferred the public to wear masks, and if we got a complaint or saw someone who wasn’t wearing one, we would offer them a free Park City Farmers Market bandana,” Ritzinger said. “Most of the people we approached took them, and we did have some give us some lip. But for the most part, people understood.”
This year’s market focuses on produce and prepared foods, all of which are non-GMO, he said.
“We also didn’t set up a food court and we didn’t make any pizzas this year,” Ritzinger said. “With that and the fact that we also didn’t offer jewelry or craft vendors, the market is running at a deficit, which is something I expected. I’m floating that money out of my own pocket, but I expected and accepted that because I wanted to make sure it opened this year.”
Even the cold spell that brought snow and an early frost to Summit County didn’t shut down this year’s market, Ritzinger said.
“While farmers in Logan and Summit County got hit a little bit, it didn’t freeze anywhere south of Provo,” he said. “Even farmers in Syracuse and Ogden didn’t lose much, because they had greenhouses. So we were lucky to sneak by that cold spell.”
Ritzinger said this year will always have a special place in the market’s 20-year history.
“The farmers market has always been my baby,” he said. “I knew we could do it in a safe way, and I had been thinking about how to do it back in March and April.”
Ritzinger knows the market couldn’t have opened without the support of Vail Resorts, and Park City Mountain Resort Chief Operating Officer Mike Goar.
“Mike and I started the Park City Farmers Market more than 20 years ago at what is now called Canyons,” Ritzinger said. “While we delayed it this year because Vail needed time to open their property, Mike made sure we had a spot. We have a great relationship with Vail, and they are the reason we’ve had a good market for the past two decades.”
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