Adapted to the times, the Farmers & Artisans Market opens season in downtown Farmington this weekend

"For all the uncertainty in the world, at least the weather looks to be promising."

So says Walt Gajewski, manager of the Farmington Farmers & Artisans Market. It’s the sort of guarded optimism befitting our times. And all the more so coming from the likes of Gajewski.

Not only has Gajewski felt the weight of just how serious it can be opening a public market in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that feeling is also compounded by his knowing the coronavirus as intimately as he does. Gajewski was stricken by and recovered from the coronavirus earlier this year.

Now fully recovered and emboldened by their mission, Gajewski is ready to get this show on the road. The 27th season of the Farmington Farmers & Artisans Market is set to open at 9 a.m. this Saturday, May 16.

"We’ve worked hard to make sure that this will be an experience that people will enjoy with comfort and confidence," Gajewski says.

"It’s been a long road in getting ready to open, done in conversation with the mayor and city manager. We have a lot of eyes on this."

Much has gone into planning this year’s farmers market. In a typical season, the Farmington market hosts about 45 vendors on opening day. To honor social distancing guidelines, this year’s market will open with just 14, a group that consists of seven farmers and seven vendors.

A schematic found on the market’s Facebook page shows that the market will only be accessible via limited entrances, and vendors accessed via one-way shopping lanes.

Non-essential features of the market, like cooking demonstrations and live entertainment, are noticeably absent, at least for the time being.

It’s a different farmers market but the important thing is that it’s a farmers market, Gajewski says.

"Every year we ring the market bell to open the season and this Saturday the market bell will ring in downtown Farmington."

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Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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