By Chad Hobbs
After over a month of preparations, the Meade County Farmers Market opened last Saturday morning for the 2020 season. Despite a unique look due to the social distancing mandates related to the corona virus, the opening weekend was a great success. Mary Gavin with Sunny Acres Farms and market manager this year, said it was a very good morning for early spring. Most years average somewhere around 40-50 customers at best, but this year, the market opened to 82 patrons. By the time I left that morning, I had put up my camera and returned as a customer. I returned home with not just pictures and interview notes, but also a trunk full of purchases. I had planned on stopping for breakfast on the way home, but instead, I had a bag full of giant, homemade cinnamon rolls that Mookie Gerkins had made fresh that morning, rolling them out at 5 a.m. so they would be ready to take to the market that opens at 9 a.m. and runs until 12 p.m. every Saturday morning. There were tomato, squash and zucchini sets I picked up from Fallen Maple Farms out of Elizabethtown. They also offered various other vegetable sets along with soaps, cosmetics, canned goods and lettuce amongst other things. A hanging basket full of fresh pink blooms from Hardesty Farms and Greenhouses also found its way to my vehicle. Bethany Hardesty had offered flowers in cell packs, planters and hanging baskets, as well as freshly cut spinach. Along with the cinnamon rolls, Garrett Angus Farm offered farm fresh eggs, tomato and other plants, in addition to homemade masks. Roberts Family Farm was there also offering eggs, jams, jellies and fresh cobblers from Mama Rob’s Bakery, which sold out in pretty short order. The market will be open every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and every Saturday for the rest of the season. There are 17 farms signed up for this season. Along with the five above mentioned, Fairview Lavender Farm, David Yates Farm, Meade Stock Farm, Buzzin Beats Farm, David Jenkins Farm, Crossroads Blueberry Farm, Piddlin Produce Farm, Modern Heritage Farm, Lady Acres Farm, Almost an Acre Farm, Solway Farms, and KastsPaca Farm will be vendors this year. As spring gives way to summer, many of these vendors will be making their appearances as produce comes into season. Some, such as Meade County Stock Farm, traditionally offer meats at the market, but Gavin said it is unknown if that is going to materialize at this year’s market. In order to sell cuts of meats, the livestock must be processed at a USDA certified processor. Due to the pandemic, many of these facilities cannot take on any more orders until late summer or early fall. The Farmers Market has gone to great lengths to keep both vendors and customers safe under social distancing mandates. Customers enter and are asked to sanitize their hands. The floor is clearly marked to show where to stand to keep six feet between customers and vendor tables. The market also asks that only one customer at a time approach a vendors table. Despite the constraints, customers can quickly and easily move through the market. Some vendors also offer pre-sales where customers can simply arrive and pick up their order. Anyone looking to support local and purchase a wide selection of homegrown/homemade products should be sure to swing the market, which is located beside the Meade County Extension Office and across the road from the Meade County Public Library. For those who have Facebook, more information and updates can be found on the Meade County Farmers Market page.