Oconee County’s Farmer’s Market will launch its 17th Season at 9 a.m. Saturday (tomorrow) as a drive-through only operation in front of the Courthouse in downtown Watkinsville.
Persons interested in purchasing from the Market’s vendors will remain inside their vehicles and enter the Courthouse front parking lot from Third Street.
A list of vendors and the products they are offering will be available on site.
“Vendors will be abiding by social distancing standards and will be wearing face masks and gloves,” according to Market Manager Allison Barnes. “We ask that our customers keep in mind these safety measures as well.”
The new hours are 9 a.m. to noon, Barnes said.
“Please note that this is a fluid situation, and our operations may change weekly to reflect new updates,” she added.
Last year the Market opened on April 13 with 18 vendors offering early vegetables, plants, beef, baked goods, dog biscuits, canned goods, soaps, and novelties.
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Opening was delayed this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In an effort to keep the community safe,” according to a May 6 posting on the Facebook page for the Market, the Market Board of Directors “has spent the last few weeks planning the best way to open our market that will ensure the safety of both our customers and our vendors.”
The Market is a nonprofit organization and is supported entirely by the contributions of vendors.
The Market began in 2004 to provide farmers from Oconee and surrounding counties with a venue to sell their products and to provide residents with a chance to purchase locally produced foods and related products.
Market organizers Debbie Beese, Carl Berg and Russ Page, none of whom now lives in the county, also saw the Market as part of an effort to preserve green space in the county.
The Market began on the front lawn of Eagle Tavern, moved to rear of the Tavern in 2009, and relocated to the front of the Courthouse in 2012.
I served on the Market Board as a consumer representative from 2011 to early 2018.