By Pauline Benetti
Southwest Organization for Sustainability
The familiar old adage — “The best laid plans often go astray” — well, it happened here. The Pagosa Farmers Market has had to move its opening date forward a week to Saturday, June 27.
A very cool spring and a couple of bad frosts in the last month have delayed production. We can work around obstacles like COVID-19, but we cannot control the weather.
The time will be the same — 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. — and the location is the same — east end of town at the East Side Market.
We invite you to participate with your purchasing power to support our local growers and provide yourself with fresh local produce which we know tastes better and is far superior nutritionally to produce shipped in from somewhere.
The market will be different this year as we struggle to incorporate the COVID-19 precautions developed by the Colorado Farmers Market Association and endorsed by San Juan Basin Public Health.
Perhaps the biggest difference and the most lamentable one is that we will not be a community gathering place for meeting up with friends, sitting down to talk and listening to our local musicians. As with all other places where the public gathers, here we are asking our friends to make their purchase and leave.
Regular clients will also notice a difference in layout of the market. As usual, the Pagosa Farmers Market occupies the back row at the East Side Market; however, we will have a single entrance and exit. We are asking our clients to use the entrance to the market row on the east side and leave by the exit on the west. Entrance and exit will be clearly marked. In addition, we ask that our clients respect the social distancing signs and wear face coverings. And a reminder about why face coverings are important: All of our vendors will sport face coverings as a protection for you. You are protecting our vendors with your face covering. It’s a win/win.
Only essential products will be on sale. Next week, we will tell you about our vendors. There will be no change to our SNAP policy, however; we continue to accept SNAP cards and continue to hand out $20 worth of free Double up Bucks for the first $20 of purchase, increasing purchasing power by 100 percent.
Plant now and plant more
This is for all you vendors, potential and experienced. Then you can sell at the market and still have something to give to the food pantries.
For an application, please go to the Pagosa Farmers Market page on the Southwest Organization for Sustainability website, sospagosa.org. Learn there about greatly reduced fees, new rules and contact numbers.
A warning: Your market manager must receive your application by the Monday before the Saturday that you want a booth. And a plug for our Small Growers Co-op which was created for the backyard grower who has, on occasion, too much of something and would like to sell it.
Let’s increase the food supply in Archuleta County and shorten the supply chain — the pathway to a resilient community.