Pedestrians return to Taos Farmers Market

Jim Benson arranges his goods as customers take their strolls at the Taos Farmers Market. Jesse Moya/Taos News

Correction appended

Customers and vendors wore masks and took other precautions as walk-up service returned to the Taos Farmers Market on the historic Taos Plaza.

The second farmers market of the season saw the return of face-to-face vendor interaction with customers on Saturday (May 23) as over 100 community members made their way to Taos Plaza. Customers were able to enter and purchase their groceries and goods as vendors lined the plaza, many for the first time.

“I consider the (previous) week as canceled,” said Chris Bergner of Copper Pot Farms. “To me, foot traffic makes the market.”

Bergner and his wife Fiona Lee have been setting up their Copper Pot Farms booth for eight years at the Taos Farmers Market and said the May 23 market was a drastic improvement from opening day.

Concerns over COVID-19 caused a last minute change for the opening May 16 market as only drive- up service was permitted. Cars had to wait in lines to be served a bag of goods rather than having a walk-up farmers market experience.

A handful of customers, unaware of the change, still walked through wearing masks that first Saturday and were allowed to make purchases.

This week’s market allowed for vendors to be spaced 8-10 feet apart.

All vendors had to wear masks and had hand sanitizer at their tables. In addition, foot traffic was limited to one direction and had to use a separate exit and entrance to minimize the potential of contact.

The precautions were set by Farmers Market and town of Taos officials to adhere to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s public health orders. According to the governor, everyone must be wearing a face covering in public places to help minimize the possible spread of the virus.

“I’m glad that everyone’s doing things in a way that satisfies the Governor’s orders and keeps everyone safe,” said Jim Benson of Malandro Farms.

Benson is beginning his third season at the Taos Farmers Market and said he drove down to Santa Fe for the previous week.

Customers adhered to the new rules and regulations and were wearing masks throughout the market.

Some had to be directed to the proper entrance and exits and reminded to keep a six-feet distance between each other in line.

“It was really good,” said Randy Hoover as he exited the market. “It seems like they have all their protocols down.”

Hoover said he was not at the opening day market but that he was planning to make it to next week’s Saturday market.

Town facilities and special events director Mitch Miller said the average head count at the market was around 100 people at any given time.

Taos Farmers Market manager Jennifer Helsel has said the market was modeled after the Santa Fe Farmers Market guidelines. The market will resume at 8 a.m,, Saturday (May 30).

Correction: the original version of this story had an incorrect start time for the market.

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