Shawano Farmers Market still to open

Restrictions require market to move back to Washington Street
Lee Pulaski
City Editor

SHAWANO — The Shawano Farmers Market had finally found a beautiful home last year in Franklin Park, but due to the pandemic, it’s back out on the street.

Hopefully, that’s temporary, according to Barb Mendoza, executive director for the FRESH Project, which took over the market’s operation this year. It is necessary in order to keep with social distancing guidelines set up to curb spreading the coronavirus, she said.

The farmers market will open June 20, its originally scheduled opening date, and continue through Oct. 3, but the market will not be set up in Franklin Park like it was last year. Mendoza said the market will be set up in the 200 block of South Washington Street, where it had been for several years before improvements on Franklin Park were implemented, and the market will be set up with one entrance and one exit.

“Our vendors will be just meat and produce farmers, or anyone who has anything prepared at home that can be brought in and packaged and ready to be sold,” Mendoza said.

For now, vendors cannot sell flowers or crafts under the state guidelines for farmers markets that items be edible.

“We’re considered food-essential,” Mendoza said. “Flowers are not food-essential.”

Mendoza noted there will be no entertainment and education activities like there have been in years past, at least for the time being. She said the purpose is to get shoppers in to get what they need and out again as quickly as possible.

“People are still able to come out and get their produce and needs,” she said.

Mendoza said the new rules are difficult because they have prompted most of The FRESH Project’s fundraisers to be canceled in order to minimize the risk of spreading coronavirus, but she understands the necessity of them.

“We’re really excited that we can do (the farmers market), even though it’s limited,” Mendoza said. “It’s not just for the Shawano community; it’s for anybody who wants to come.”

There will be volunteers monitoring the market to make sure people are moving expeditiously and not stopping to socialize, Mendoza said. The main reason for moving the market back out of the park is the temptation for people to gather, she said.

Mendoza has almost a dozen vendors in place for now, as it’s taking time to contact all previous vendors to let them know what the new rules are.

The FRESH Project is also finalizing plans for its mobile market, where food distribution takes place in various communities, according to Mendoza.