Aspen Farmers Market plans are set for June 13 start
The Aspen Farmers Market is a go for this summer, although it will look, feel and sound very different from what people have become accustomed to over the past 20 years.
To help slow the spread of COVID-19, the market, which begins June 20, will be limited to agricultural and fresh food vendors.
There will be no artisan booths set up to peruse their wares, or live music to listen to, or alpacas to pet.
“This is not a social environment this year,” Mitch Osur, the city’s director of downtown services and parking, said this week. “Because of social distancing, we don’t want people hanging out, so now it’s get in and get what you need and get out.”
To follow the protocols of Pitkin County and the state’s public health orders, along with guidance from the Colorado Farmers Market Association, the Aspen market will adhere to public health orders.
“We’ll start the market when Pitkin County goes to 50, which should be around June 13,” Osur said.
In order to do that, the market will be separated into two sections — one on Hyman Avenue and the other on Hopkins Avenue — so that each area can allow up to 50 customers.
The vendors will line the streets 8 feet apart, and people will be asked to follow one-way foot traffic down the south side of the street and then turn around to go along the north side, all while maintaining 6 feet of distance from one another. There will be a single entrance and exit access point on Galena for Hyman and Hopkins.
A look at the vendors scheduled to participate in the Aspen Farmers Market, which opens June 13:
Mountain Oven Organic Baker; Jumpin’ Good Goat Dairy; Zephyros Farm & Garden; The Farm Collaborative; Borden Farms; Rancho Durazna; Aspen Crunch; Abundant Life; Jeffreezz Jelato; Roaring Fork Spice Co.; Cap-K Ranch; Forte Farms; il porcellino salumi; Rock Bottom; Ruth’s Toffee; T-Lazy-7 Ranch; Elk Mtn. Farmacy LLC; J&M Farm Co.; and Freedom Bakery.
Ajax Donuts, bagels, donuts, coffee, and iced drinks; Windy City Eats, greek gyro, hot dog, salad; Homemade Pasta; The Whole Empanada; and E Chang Catering – thai food and drink.
Dragonfly June (kombucha); Elevated elixirs (kombucha); Pappardelle’s Pasta; Louis Swiss Pastry; Aspen Kettle Corn; Becca’s Gourmet Goodies; Bolea Chocolate; Jus Aspen; Hyman mall; Local Coffee; and Coco Tree Chocolates.
Essential products (under review)
Vera Herbals, saves, lip bomb, mushrooms, tea; Colorado Hemp EDUl, CHEA; Leaf People Skin, personal products, sanitizers; and Mountain Meadows, soap, skin care.
Dogs will not be allowed in the market and people will be asked not to socialize with one another, which is one of the biggest draws to the weekly event.
“Unfortunately it’s not going to be the social scene that we are used to,” Osur said, adding that people should be used to COVID-19 protocols that have been in place for the past two months when an outbreak of the disease happened in Aspen in early March. “At this stage we are assuming that people know how to do this.”
Officials are working on a plan with vendors for call-ahead orders that can be picked up by customers behind City Hall. Pre-ordered goods can be delivered without a person getting out of their cars.
Up to 37 vendors will be allowed at this year’s market, including 19 agricultural ones, as well as four food vendors who will be located in Conner Park on Hopkins Avenue, next to City Hall.
Up to an additional 14 vendors who sell food, or essential products, are eligible to participate under public health orders.
Osur said city officials will reevaluate the make-up of the market in August to see if some artisans can be included.
“That’s if public health order allow gatherings of 250 people, which we think might be August,” Osur said, adding artisans and extending the market to Spring and Hunter streets would be part of the second phase of the farmers market.
The city will likely hire “ambassadors” to control the number of people coming in and out of each market, and ensuring people are not congregating.
Other guidelines from the Colorado Farmers Market Association include vendors and staff must wear masks and should use gloves.
Food samples won’t be allowed and prepared foods should be to-go items only.
The state association and the city ask that vendors price their products so handling coins is not required to make change, and have a container for customers to place cash in.
The association and city also ask vendors to consider digital payment methods to reduce contact with customers.
The guidelines also ask that vendors and organizers have plenty of hand-washing stations, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and sprays, and portable restrooms.
Hours of operation have not yet been determined. City officials are asking for feedback from the farming community on whether they want to stay until 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. The start time is 8:30 a.m.
The market will run through Sept. 5, if the spread of COVID-19 remains manageable according to public health officials’ expectations.
“There are a lot of balls in the air right now,” he said. “We are waiting for the next public health order to see what they are thinking.”
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