Buchanan Farmer’s Market opens Saturday, adapts to COVID-19 mandates

BUCHANAN — The Buchanan Farmers Market generally opens on the first Saturday morning of May. However, when the farmers market opens at 8 a.m. Saturday for the first time this year, it will be a smaller event than in the past.

Usually a central hub of activity on Saturday mornings in Buchanan, the market will be paired down the vendors at the permanent stands for the first market. This year, the market’s organizers delayed its opening to try to better work within the state’s COVID-19 mandates and social distancing precautions, and have a more successful market. The market is usually hosted in Buchanan every Saturday morning from May 1 through mid-October.

“The executive order said that we could have opened a couple of weeks ago,” said Beth Chubb, market chair.

Within the current orders, the farmers market could have hosted food products and sanitary item vendors at an earlier date. However, with the market’s offerings being so varied, its organizers wanted to wait to see if things might change.

“We have a lot of crafters at our market, and they’re not allowed to come down yet,” Chubb said. “We’re waiting for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to say something about it on May 15.”

Despite the lack of crafters, the market will open on Saturday with vendors offering local produce, eggs, meats, jams, herbs, flowers, coffee, wood and face masks. The 10 vendors signed on for the day will inhabit the permanent vendor stands at the market, located behind the Buchanan District Library in downtown Buchanan between Days Avenue and Oak Street.

“People aren’t going to be able to come down and socialize. We can’t do that,” Chubb said. “It’s going to be strictly a get what you and want leave kind of thing, which is too bad because our market is more of a social event.”

Those who have visited the Buchanan Farmers Market in years past will remember tents and vendors on each side of the sidewalk, creating a lively and diverse local shopping experience. As of the first week of opening, the only vendors that will be at the market will be in the 10 permanent stalls. The stalls will help to keep an acceptable distance between the vendors themselves. Shoppers will be able to use the width of the sidewalk and the grass on the opposite side to ask questions of the vendors about goods before purchasing.

The market will provide a handwashing station, and Chubb hopes that most of the vendors will provide their own hand sanitizer.

“We’re hoping that this will work out,” Chubb said. “We don’t know if we’re going to have a lot of people down here.”

The BuchananFarmersMarket.com website lists all 10 of the vendors for the market on May 16.

“We will be practicing 6 feet apart and little touching of products to protect you and our vendors,” the site said.