Farm fresh items will once again be available for in-person shopping at the Winter Farmers’ Market at Connon Nurseries as of Feb. 27.
After Hamilton entered the red zone in the provincial COVID-19 framework on Feb. 16, the Robson Road nursery decided to go ahead with the market to help local farmers in the area.
“It’s all going to be food and farm vendors,” said Terry Vanderkruk of Connon Nurseries.
He explained that the 25-vendor event will adhere to provincial health and social distancing guidelines and will limit the number of visitors into the building.
“This is their livelihood … so (it’s) great that they’re able to have a venue again,” Vanderkruk said of the local farmers. “Just great news.”
The market will be open Saturdays until April 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 656 Robson Rd.
Vanderkruk said the market is Connon Nurseries’ way of supporting local vendors by offering the use of their space.
“This is more of a community thing for us than it is for our own business,” he said. “But that said, it’s nice to see people again, for sure.”
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“We’re looking forward to doing it and we’re hoping that we can call our vendors very soon and say ‘Hey, the lockdown has relaxed, and we’d love to have you back,’” Vanderkruk said. “Really, we’re just choosing to be socially responsible and doing our part.”
The market, which was to take place inside the Robson Road facility, was expected to feature about 30 vendors offering up a variety of options.
Liz Pietrzak, soup curator of Soups, From Me to You, said she and her family were looking forward to spending time with their customers at the market.
“The biggest thing is the face-to-face, seeing the customer part,” she said, noting that they missed out on the summer markets and festivals due to the pandemic. “That’s a big disappointment for us.”
However, Pietrzak said their online orders have increased substantially during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, at Stuffed, the team has been keeping their business going by hosting pop-up perogy dinners at the Dundas branch of the Royal Canadian Legion and they also have the ability for people to order online from their website. However, they are hoping the market will be up and running soon.
“If they do decide that they’re going to cancel it all together, it’s challenging for small businesses like ourselves to operate,” said Stuffed’s Michelle Schmidt. “Unlike a restaurant, we don’t have a permanent retail location for customers to come to on a daily basis, so we did set up that e-commerce site and that helps,” she added.