Outdoor Markets: Two Years in the Making

Regional Farmers’ Markets Return in Full Force

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Outdoor Markets Farmers Foodtruck

Anyone who has been tracking the weather here along the shores of Lake Erie knows that things have made a jump from winter to summer. It seems that our regional outdoor markets have done the same. They have gone from Covid Quiet to Summer Sensational. If you’re looking to hit up some of these amazing local markets, check out our Survival Guide to Markets. It’s a one-stop-shop for all the market information you’ll ever need!

Moderate to Massive

People have been ready for a long time to return to “normal”. Family gatherings, outdoor sports, even just strolling in an outdoor market seemed difficult at best, given the public health restrictions.

Markets were, last year, a moderate success at best. However, with the weather breaking and everyone ready to get out and about, most market managers are expecting a jump from moderate success to massive event. From farmer to food truck, vendor to visitor, we all want to get back at it. We are READY!

Everything in moderation… including moderation.

Julia Child

A Few Rules to Remember

Since it has been a while, it would behoove all of us motivated market mavens to revisit some market etiquette. Here are just a few rules/suggestions to live by when visiting our wonderful local markets.

  • Respect: Aretha sang true, markets are about respect. As people get out and about, many are still hesitant and vendors may still have restrictions about touching their offerings. Err on the side of caution and take your clues from the vendors. We are all in this together and all of us are recharting our course forward.
  • Bags appreciated: Bringing your own bags to the market is a good thing. Some vendors may still want to bag your purchases but anything you can do to help with their cost is appreciated. Finally, it is time to break out those shopping bags rattling around in your trunk.
  • Small bills please: Most vendors will accept cards. However, they also accept cash. If you intend to use cash try to bring smaller bills. Unlike a mega mart, when the vendor runs out of change they are stuck begging fellow vendors for ones.
  • Give space: Many of your fellow market patrons may still be nervous about crowding. For many it has been a long time since we have been in a crowd. Market season is a marathon, not a sprint. Until we’ve all been at it a while, give people space.
  • Early is better: Like all small businesses, farmers and market vendors are emerging from a difficult time. They may not have their inventories back at pre-Covid levels. That being said, the earlier you are at a market the better.
  • It takes a village: Many markets are located along or near permanent brick and mortar stores. Although the market may be the inspiration for your visit, don’t hesitate to visit other retailers and restaurants in the area. Every local dollar is a blessing that keeps returning to the local economy.
  • Have fun: Shopping at markets isn’t like shopping at a mega mart. Relax, browse, chat, and above all, have a good time. It may be a bad week for tomatoes but it is never a bad week to get out and enjoy our local communities.