The Haliburton County Farmers’ Market is returning in June under new restrictions after a months-long effort to re-open.

The market association unveiled its re-opening plan to Minden Hills council May 28. The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit approved the plan, which features new restrictions due to the pandemic. Minden Hills, Algonquin Highlands and Dysart et al have all permitted the market to start operating in their municipalities.

Haliburton County Farmers’ Market Association (HCFMA) secretary Gus Janca said they appreciate all the support.

“There are a lot of small businesses that depend on income revenue from the farmers’ market,” Janca said. “We have some very, very loyal customers and we didn’t want to let them down either. What we do for the economy here is so important.”

It will not be business as usual for the markets, situated in Haliburton, Minden and Stanhope. They will employ a one-way, walkthrough model. Only food products are allowed and no food can be prepared on-site. Customer interaction will also be limited, with people disallowed from eating or standing around. Online pre-ordering will be encouraged. The market plan said, “the goal is to have customers pick up and go.”

“Our number one priority was this has to be safe,” Janca said. “Would I like to see the artisans there? Would I like to see a table for a non-profit? … I’d like to see that, but I understand that that’s not going to happen this year.”

Honey vendor Ron Lofthouse plans to return to the market this summer. He said it will be good for his business and commended the HCFMA.

“I’m so pleased that we have the persistence and the personnel at that level,” Lofthouse said. “It’s going to be a different market but I’m sure we’ll get some laughter there.”

County food tourism facilitator Thom Lambert said the market is vital to the local food economy.

“It offers one of the best chances for local farmers and producers to get their product to customers,” he said.

The Minden market will open June 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Minden Fairgrounds and run weekly on Saturday. The Haliburton market will begin June 16 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Rotary Park and continue every Tuesday. The Stanhope market will begin June 26 at the Stanhope Community Center from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and continue every Friday. A list of vendors is available at https://betahcfma.wordpress.com/our-vendors/.

“We feel very confident it’s going to be a very safe operation for customers and vendors alike,” Janca said.

Correction: A previous version of this story had stated that Haliburton market was starting June 2 and the Minden market was starting June 6. Those were out of date and it has been corrected. The Highlander apologizes for the error.

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