The Brookfield Farmers Market will be in a new location this year, in front of the village hall, where market officials will strictly monitor traffic within the market and the number of people shopping at any one time. (PROVIDED)

The COVID-19 pandemic will influence the operation of the Brookfield Farmers Market, which is set to open on Saturday, June 6 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Market Manager Sarah Thomas has overseen the market for three years and says she’s looking forward to bringing a safe and robust market to the community.

“The village of Brookfield has been wonderful,” said Thomas. “They are supportive of the farmers market and have reviewed and approved our planned adjustments.”

Modifications are designed to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus and may make the market seem less social, but Thomas’ goal is to support local farmers and artisans while keeping the community safe. 

She anticipates the strictest regulations will affect early markets and hopes to ease restrictions over the course of the summer as allowed by state government.

Barricades will be put in place to remind shoppers to use the main entrance as the single point of entry for the market and vendors and customers must wear face coverings to gain entry. 

The market this year will take place in the parking lot directly in front of the Brookfield Village Hall, 8820 Brookfield Ave. People are encouraged to line up at the entrance near Brookfield Avenue. The number of customers allowed to enter the market will be limited, and if a line forms at the entrance, it will extend down the sidewalk to the west towards the Prairie Avenue. 

Seventeen vendors are expected to attend the June 6 market. This represents a decline as compared to past years, but some vendors have opted not to participate because of COVID-19 concerns.

“COVID has complicated things, but Hardin Family Farm and Rose’s Catering are among our really popular vendors who will be part of the market this year,” said Thomas. “We also have smattering of new vendors we’re excited about coming in as well.”

All items sold by vendors will be prepackaged and patrons will not be allowed to touch produce prior to purchase. All sampling at the market will be curtailed and vendors will have hand-sanitizing stations. 

Three-sided tents will be kept six feet apart and patrons will be required to maintain a safe social distance from other marketgoers and vendors.

Some vendors will be taking online preorders. Interested parties are encouraged to visit the Brookfield Farmers Market website to learn more about vendors offering this service and to stay informed about what vendors will attend the market from week to week.

“We appreciate and respect the relationship farmers and artisans have with their patrons,” said Thomas. “We are proud to host a vibrant in-person market that fosters those valuable connections.”