Even though the atmosphere of The Dalles Farmer’s Market is very different this year than from past seasons, locals are embracing social distancing guidelines and continuing to make the excursion over to City Park to buy fresh produce from local vendors.
Total numbers for the 2020 season are down from previous years, but Market Manager Eileen White said that vendors who have been at The Dalles Market for a couple years are reporting roughly the same amount of revenue as they had this time last year.
“For the most part, our customers and shoppers have been very pleased that we’re open, and very pleased to follow the rules,” said White.
The Dalles Farmers Market runs Saturdays starting the first weekend in June through the second weekend in October, and the market has a number of social distancing measures in place to ensure a safe shopping environment for vendors and customers alike — including a limit of one shopper per household (not strictly enforced, “but the folks who are there are there to shop,” said White), a limit on the total number of people in the market at a time, and a one-way, counter-clockwise track that customers have to follow through the market. “Like the Indy-500, that’s my joke,” said White.
While this does often create a line to get into the market, White reports that the line typically disappears about an hour and a half after the market opens at 9 a.m.
Per state mandate, all shoppers age 5 and over are required to wear a mask while inside the market; but if you do have a medical reason why you cannot wear a mask, there are volunteers on-hand who can take your shopping order and shop the market for you — just ask at the manager’s booth.
Because social distancing requirements reduced the number of booths that The Dalles Farmers Market could fit into their space in City Park, vendor space at the market was at first limited solely to grocery and agricultural sellers — but The Dalles Farmers Market is now allowing craft vendors back on a limited basis.
A new vendor is already signed up to sell handmade face masks that have been designed as headbands to reduce ear stress, and another crafter is selling crocheted ear savers.
As part of a joint fundraiser, quilters with the Mid-Columbia Senior Center have been making masks for The Dalles Farmer’s Market to give out at the manager’s booth for a requested donation of $5 each, with the proceeds split evenly between the Mid-Columbia Senior Center and The Dalles Farmers Market. Based on demand and community requests, the quilters are making masks in a variety of sizes, including two sizes for adults and a range of sizes for toddlers, children and tweens. All the masks are made from donated material and are reversible. “It’s been a very nice fundraiser for both us and the senior center,” said White.
The Dalles Farmers Market runs Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at City Park in The Dalles. Visit thedallesfarmersmarket.com to learn more.
The market is currently accepting consignments and new vendors — contact White at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-965-3658 for more information.