There was a line waiting on the opening day of the Attleboro Farmers Market, with a host of loyal longtime customers supporting its scaled-back return this season with restrictions due to the coronavirus.
Roughy 100 people were at O’Connell Field near Capron Park for the market’s opening at 9 a.m. Saturday.
There were not the usual food trucks, bands, crafters, and socializing with only a third of the vendors compared to past years.
But long-time customers like Carolyn Alberto of Attleboro who has been going to the market since it first opened a decade ago, were glad to see its return, even if it was smaller.
“I give a lot of credit to the people who organized it and are still able to open it. I think it is important to the community,” said Alberto, who purchased puppy biscuits from Jack’s Snack and arugula from Ray’s Roots Farm.
The spirit of the market was still there, she said, but in a different form since mask-wearing and social distancing was in effect.
Protocols limited visitors and vendors to 250 in total, wearing masks with no pets allowed or touching of the produce.
Denny Goodrich of Norton hadn’t missed an opening day at the farmers market for 10 years and he wasn’t going to miss this one, either.
“It is very well organized. Everybody knows what needs to be done to make it successful. Today’s opening day is definitely smaller but with the current situation obviously things are different now,” said Goodrich who came to buy some vegetables.
Heather Porreca, the market’s manager, was thrilled that the event could take place.
“It was exciting to see the line of people at this morning. I have goosebumps just thinking about it. People have been unbelievably accommodating and thoughtful, helping themselves, going with the flow around the market and it’s going very well,” Porreca said.
She is hoping as the season progresses and regulations relax, the market will be able to bring back some more of the crafters and food trucks and allow a little bit more social interaction.
Lynn Porto, chef and owner of Red Harvest of Attleboro, was one of the vendors at the market, selling baked goods, homemade jelly, and hummus. Porto, whose business is a veteran of the farmer’s market, said following all the new regulations and guidelines for small businesses to even be allowed to participate was a challenge, but said everyone seemed to be happy.
“Everyone’s following the rules and everyone is excited to see a little bit of normalcy back in their lives. Sales are a little slower than the past years for sure. There is a lot less participation. I think a lot of people are still a little nervous about coming to the large outside gatherings,” Porto said.
In the past, they typically sold out of many products by 11 a.m., but they still had much of it left Saturday.
Marie Soliday, owner of Confectionery Designs in Rehoboth offering donuts and other baked goods, was one of the few who predicted they would likely sell out during the day.
“It’s great to see everyone and the vendor family here, but it is quieter,” said Soliday, who is participating in the market for the fourth year.
The market will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday, except July 4, through Oct. 24. Visitors should use the Bushee Street parking lot and are encouraged to pre-order by going to the website attleborofarmersmarket.com.