Correction: A previous version of this article stated that “the board is encouraging shoppers not to loiter — grab your organic strawberries, order your food truck grub, have your knives sharpened, and get out.” The market will only be featuring “essential services” for the time being, so food trucks and the knife sharpening station will not be featured, at least until more restrictions are lifted. The article has been updated.
While other local businesses are wondering what’s in store for them as the COVID-19 pandemic and Washington’s phased reopening plan drags into the summer, the Enumclaw Plateau Farmers Market is barreling straight ahead to start their season on-time.
But like seemingly everything else, the novel coronavirus forced the organizers to make a few substantial changes to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Like last year, the season is expected to be held on Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m., starting June 4 and continuing through Sept. 24, and the setup will once again be on 1st Street/Kayse Kahne Drive (behind the Enumclaw library).
This year, though, “the market will look much different due to COVID-19 measures,” the EPFM Board of Directors wrote in a joint email interview. “One-way direction, face masks, social distancing, hand sanitizer and more will be the order of the day. Some vendors will take pre-orders and have it bagged up and ready for a quick drive-through pick up. Customers on foot will be allowed in with the number of shoppers limited to no more than two to a booth. Many items will be pre-bagged.”
The current plan is to have vendors set up in the middle of the street, as opposed to on both sides. Those planning to shop on foot will be instructed to enter at the north end of the market (Washington Ave.) and exit at the south end (Griffin Ave.), staying on the side closest to the library; those who have pre-ordered their groceries and goodies can drive up the side closest to Tractor Supply (again coming from the north and exiting to the south) to receive their orders.
All vendors will have a hand-washing station and sanitizers for you to use, and no more than two customers may be shopping at one booth; with 14 expected vendors, that’s a total of 28 people being able to shop at a time. Volunteers will be keeping track of how many people are entering and exiting the market.
Sampling of good will also not be allowed, no matter how good that popcorn looks.
Unfortunately, live entertainment will not be featured this year.
“We are only allowed ‘essential’ vendors currently,” the board wrote. “The… sociability of last year’s market that everyone loved is on hold for now. The great opportunity to receive farm to table food will still be our goal, just in a more focused accomplishment.”
Finally, the board is encouraging shoppers not to loiter — grab your food and go.
A list of vendors and how to pre-order their products will be listed on www.enumclawplateaufarmersmarket.org, which is where you can also find the 2020 Market Safety Plan and COVID-19 Safety Plan.
SNAP BENEFITS AND EBT
One of the market’s biggest goals for this summer was to be able to accept food stamps.
Unfortunately, the market isn’t as far along in meeting that goal as it wanted to be.
“The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/EBT benefits from the federal government are pending,” the board wrote.
Part of the issue, the board continued, is that even though the market itself was approved for the Washington Department of Health’s Farmers Market Nutritional Program, “it is unclear how many of our vendors have signed up and have been approved at this time.”
“We are hopeful to be able to accept WIC and senior checks at some point during the summer season,” it added. “[We know] that food assistance is important to offer for those in the community.”