Aspen Farmers Market to start June 20 |

Aspen Farmers Market to start June 20

The Aspen Saturday Farmers Market season has been shortened due to availability of supplies, as well as the high cost of monitoring social distancing and crowd sizes in the world of COVID-19.

So instead of beginning this Saturday, June 13, the market is anticipated to start June 20.

City officials said last month that the market would run until mid-October, but now it’s going to run until Sept. 5.

It could go longer, but that will be based on the success of the market this summer, whether farmers have enough produce and if the city can fund extra expenditures, said Mitch Osur, the city’s director of parking and downtown services.

If the market goes well and it’s popular enough, Osur said he will ask Aspen City Council for extra money to extend past Sept. 5.

Adhering to COVID-19 public health orders and maintaining distancing during the market will already add an additional cost of $25,000, Osur said.

That includes hand sanitation stations, signage and hiring “market ambassadors” to manage flow through dedicated entrances and exits, and throughout the event.

The plan is to have the market on Hopkins Avenue and Hyman Avenue. In order to allow more customers, each street will have between 15 and 17 vendors stationed 8 feet apart with its own entrance and exit.

Per public health orders, there will be a limit of 50 people on each street.

Because the market will consist of agricultural and fresh baked good vendors only, it is considered essential by the state of Colorado, according to Osur.

In order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, the market will not be a gathering place so there will be no artisan booths set up to peruse their wares, or live music to listen to, or alpacas and shelter puppies to pet.

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.

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.

The city will follow other COVID-19 guidelines from the Colorado Farmers Market Association.