2020 Vermilion Farmers Market Will Take The Summer Off

“Our farmers market organizers and the Main Street Board of Directors have decided that we won’t open the Saturday Farmers Market this season,” announced Marilou Suszko, executive director of Main Street Vermilion. “It’s difficult and disappointing to have to postpone or cancel the events that bring people to Vermilion, and no organization comes to these decisions lightly,” she said. “For as much thought as anyone puts into holding an event, the same amount is applied in making the decision to cancel one.”

Judy Kernell, who has managed the market for more than 14 years with the assistance of Judy Klucas and Judy Gutmann, explained that COVID-19 guidelines for farmers markets presented challenges that would have changed the atmosphere and flow of the market.

“We’ve been in contact with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Erie County Health Department and the Ohio Farmers Market Management Network,” said Kernell. “Markets are considered essential businesses and must comply with many restrictions and mandates.”

For example, only “essential vendors” can participate, meaning food and produce. “That would eliminate our craftsmen and artists,” said Kernell, “so the size and personality of the market would change.”

Kernell provided the following restrictions the government has placed on Ohio’s more than 300 markets:

  • Vendors must wear face masks and gloves and temperatures must be taken on both vendors and customers;
  • Establish a designated shopping time for customers over 59 or with compromised immune systems;
  • Hand washing stations must be provided;
  • There can only be one exit and entrance to the market;
  • Only one person per household can visit the market and no social gathering;
  • Customers cannot handle products;
  • No additional activities including special events, music, food carts or cooking demos.

“The bottom line, of course, is addressing the risk and safety factors that concern everyone,” said Kernell. “While we were always dedicated to making the market the best and safest experience even in the best of times, we decided that we need to focus on everyone’s need to remain healthy at this time.”

Kernell added that, if possible, the market plans to return in 2021.

 For more information, contact Marilou Suszko, executive director of Main Street Vermilion at (440) 963.0772.