TOWER- The Tower Farmers Market had a busy opening day this past Friday and has exciting new things to boast, including new vendors, COVID-19 precautions, and SNAP/EBT acceptance.Many familiar …
TOWER- The Tower Farmers Market had a busy opening day this past Friday and has exciting new things to boast, including new vendors, COVID-19 precautions, and SNAP/EBT acceptance.
Many familiar vendors were at the market, including Fat Chicken Farm, Mickey White, Karl’s Bread, Grateful Hearts Family Kitchen, Bear Creek Acres, Lloyd’s Woodworks, Sharon’s Kitchen, Shelby’s Pies, Vi Hildebrandt’s needlework, Denise Lindquist’s canned goods, and digital photography by Tom Andler. Many other favorite vendors like Greg and Matt’s BBQ, Kudrle Farms, and Lost Lake Farm missed the first market but hopefully plan on returning, while a few aren’t sure if they will be doing the market this year because of COVID-19.
Julia Rasmussen, “Recycled by Ras,” is a new transplant to Tower from Alabama. Rasmussen will be selling fabric creations made primarily from vintage linen and recycled denim. At her table she had aprons, throw pillows, baby sun hats, purses and stuffed animals.
Linda Wagoner was selling pickles, houseplants, bread, a variety of baked goods, dishtowels, and rhubarb, and plans to sell produce as well, once her garden comes in.
Terry and Dianna Sunsdahl, with their new business Pike River Products, were selling Terry’s handcrafted canvas and leather bags. Terry has been making them as gifts for the past five years and is now jumping into the market.
“We’re hoping for a safe and productive farmers market season,” said TFM board member Janna Goerdt of Fat Chicken Farm. “We hope it will be mostly the same as last year, and we’re thankful we have an outdoor market.”
Fears of coronavirus may have warded off some buyers, but not most. Opening day at the market was busy and some vendors ended up selling out and packing up early. Guests aplenty stayed six feet apart and the majority wore masks while shopping.
Shoppers can now use their SNAP benefits/EBT cards at the farmers market thanks to help from AEOA. All it takes is a quick swipe at the Fat Chicken Farm table with Janna Goerdt, and you can take dollar benefits from your card in exchange for tokens to use at the market.
Minnesota Hunger Solutions will match the first $10 taken off an EBT card for market tokens. The tokens and Hunger Solutions market bucks can be spent on any food for sale at the market. For more information, go to https://www.hungersolutions.org/programs/market-bucks/.
The TFM is abiding by the Minnesota Farmers Market Association recommendations including keeping the tables six feet apart, a handwashing/sanitizing station, and all baked goods are individually packaged. The vendors are all wearing masks and ask that customers do, too.
Vendors also want to remind patrons to not touch products unless they intend to buy them. Some vendors have an extra empty table in front of their goods to ensure social distancing.
Long-time vendor Ann Alaspa of Grateful Hearts Family Kitchen said, “It’s hard for some people to come out now, but I think it’s important for our community to continue.”