The Haymaker Farmers’ Market is back on Franklin Ave after switching to a drive-through market from March through May due to COVID-19. The market can be found every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with 9 to 9:30 a.m. being reserved for high-risk or vulnerable customers.
“The City of Kent is allowing us more space to do social distancing, we are now in the street as well,” said Andrew Rome, market manager of Haymaker Farmers’ Market. “We are closing down a portion of Franklin Avenue.”
This change allows for vendors to be more spaced out, as well as customers to be safely spaced six feet away from each other. Customers coming into the market are being monitored and the capacity is 150 people. Customers are asked to wear masks, although will not be turned away if one is not worn. Vendors, and any employees or volunteers are required to wear a mask.
“While our drive-through market was successful, there are many more people who are coming to the downtown market,” said Rome.
Haymaker has 34 vendors selling fresh fruit, vegetables, breads, desserts and more. Some local vendors include Brimfield Bread Oven, Old Forge Dairy and Busy B Bakery. Due to COVID-19 regulations vendors now follow safety regulations to keep their customers as well as themselves safe.
Brimfield Bread Oven located on 3956 St. Rt. 43 in Kent has been a vendor at Haymaker since 2016. Owners Genevieve Smith and her husband Judson Smith have made new regulations to make their customers comfortable. At their booth, one person handles money, and another handles products being sold. There are now tables in front of the booth that can distance customers from vendors as well.
“I think it is still pretty easy to see what people have and pick out exactly what you're looking for,” Genevieve said.
Old Forge Dairy located on Old Forge Rd. in Kent has been a vendor at Haymaker since 2018. Owners Rebecca Oravets and her husband John Oravets have a booth at Haymaker the second and fourth Saturday of each month. Rebecca said a big change is no longer being able to offer samples, since people want to try the different cheeses being sold. The booth displays the different cheeses being sold, as well as a sign in front with the names and prices.
“I am so proud of the market community we have, and Andrew and all the volunteers that really made that drive-through market a success because it really helped my business,” Rebecca said.
Marissa Mathews, owner of Busy B Bakery, a licensed home bakery located in Stow has been a vendor for Haymaker for around six years. Mathews has a display table with her products laid out, and then another table in front to make sure there is space between the products and customers. Money is being put in a basket so that there is not much contact when customers pay.
“I think myself and all the vendors were just really grateful for the community for coming out and supporting us, even with the drive-through which is something we have never done before,” said Mathews “The community has been incredibly supportive.”
The market also has one way traffic with signs guiding customers where to go, as well as separate enter and exit points. There are also sanitization stations throughout so that customers are able to wash their hands.
“People who came were able to get great local food, and they were so happy to be there,” said Rome, “The vendors were happy to be downtown, we’ve been staying distant and this was a chance to get out and see your community again.”
Gina Schlegel covers construction and downtown. Contact her at email@example.com.