City of Parkland Farmers’ Market reopens after being closed for months due to COVID-19

Patrons+browse+various+local+booths+at+the+City+of+Parkland+Farmer%E2%80%99s+Market.+The+market+reopened+on+Dec.+6%2C+2020+after+months+of+COVID-19+restrictions+kept+it+closed.+Photo+by+Bryan+Nguyen

Patrons browse various local booths at the City of Parkland Farmer’s Market. The market reopened on Dec. 6, 2020 after months of COVID-19 restrictions kept it closed. Photo by Bryan Nguyen

Kate Becker

Patrons browse various local booths at the City of Parkland Farmer’s Market. The market reopened on Dec. 6, 2020, after months of COVID-19 restrictions kept it closed. Photo by Bryan Nguyen

The reoccurring Sunday Parkland Farmers’ Market at the Equestrian Center reopened on Dec. 6, 2020, after being shut down for months from COVID-19 in March. New guidelines regarding the pandemic have been implemented to ensure a safe reopening for everyone involved. On Jan. 24, the market held a public safety-themed event where vendors sold a variety of organic foods, plants and products for both humans and animals. 

The Parkland Farmers’ Market is a well-known community event offering a plethora of fresh and organic fruits and vegetables, gourmet food and handmade products. The market serves as a way for the community to shop from and support local businesses, which is especially important in the midst of the pandemic. 

After being closed since late March when COVID-19 was becoming a large threat to the nation, the market had plans to be reopened in November, but weather concerns pushed the date back to Dec. 6, 2020. 

“I used this [event] to bring in customers to my store [and] get them familiar with my [products],” John Janus, owner of Three Amigos Healthy Pet Supply, said. “It has been tough to get people to go back into the regular stores.”

Since its reopening, there have been events every other Sunday of each month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The current confirmed upcoming dates are Feb. 7, Feb. 21, March 7, March 21, April 11 and April 25, but they are subject to change. Every Sunday has a special theme. For instance, the theme on Feb. 7 was Pet Expo, so the majority of the vendors were selling a variety of animal products. Feb. 21 was the Craft Fair, so there were lots of homemade products and items for crafting up for sale. 

“I love that everything [at the Farmers’ Market] is organic [and] fresh,” Robert Marrero, an employee of Sanctuary Exotic Tea said. “Overall, everyone can come here and enjoy something that’s natural, not processed.”

In order to ensure a safe reopening, the Farmers’ Market established multiple rules and procedures to keep everyone safe. The original format of the reopening was a drive-through with customers staying in their cars; however, customers have since instead been able to freely walk around the market 6 feet apart, with mandatory face coverings. 

Individuals are asked to not attend if they are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 or if they are feeling ill in general. To help stay separated from others, the market has made every row one-way with signs marking the end of every aisle. 

“I think it’s nice how they space everything out, there’s a range of different vendors available, and I think it’s just a nice outing with the music and the different food,” customer Hillary Zhu said.

To ensure that customers are in a safe environment, city staff and participating vendors are required to complete a health screening and a temperature check at home, prior to coming to the Farmers’ Market. Vendors also must wear masks throughout the entirety of the event and every vendor tent at least 6 feet apart. Customers must not only stay apart from each other to ensure the vendors’ safety, be at least six feet away from those providing the goods. 

“I love the safety of being outdoors during this time, and it helps me meet so many people for my business. I feel safe,” Mary Bohorquez, owner of Chocolate Diva Bakes, said.

Although eating is allowed at the event like usual, you must be seated at one of the many designated tables in the eating area before you can remove your mask. The tables are conveniently located near the fresh food and drink section of the market, offering delicacies such as pastries, bubble tea, gelato and tacos. 

“[We went to the market for the] first time, [and] we loved it so far. Hopefully, they will continue to do it,” customer Shelly Shoulders said, “and we can see some new vendors.”

The Farmers’ Market will be open until at least April and will continue to follow its COVID-19 safety guidelines at every event until further notice. For information on the upcoming dates, you can go to cityofparkland.org. Story by Kate Becker

This story was originally published in the March 2021 Eagle Eye print edition.