The Yellowknife Farmers Market (YKFM) will look a little different this year as it reopens with safety measures in place for the first event of the season today.
The Farmers Market, happening from 5:15-7:15 p.m. each Tuesday at Somba K’e Civic Plaza, will only allow a maximum of 75 people in at a time as shoppers are encouraged to “shop, don’t stop” to avoid unnecessary lingering and maintain physical distancing.
In the past, market-goers have enjoyed live music and the option to eat their purchases on site. This year, the market will be takeout only and is still working on a safe way to offer music this summer.
Steph Vaillancourt, a vendor with Fish on the Bay, says that while she was unsure whether or not YKFM was going to run this year, she’s excited and curious to see how the market moves forward with restrictions in place.
“I do feel like people have been hungry for local products so hopefully they’ll come out and encourage local business and locally-sourced food,” she Vaillancourt. “I think going out and hanging out and having dinner was a big event for most people, so I hope it’s not going to discourage too many people from coming out still and getting the products that they’ve been getting for the last few years and taking it home.”
For vendors, face masks are required, and they’re encouraged for customers too. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the site and cash payments are discouraged to limit shared contact and the potential to spread germs.
On why organizers decided to open at all amid Covid concerns, YKFM’s website states, “The vision of the Yellowknife Farmers Market is to inspire and nurture a healthy community by building a local, sustainable and Northern food economy in a vibrant, diverse and inclusive market place. During the Covid-19 pandemic, these values are more important than ever.”
“We are all vulnerable to food insecurity as borders close and trade is restricted to prevent the potential spread of disease,” the site reads, “Yellowknifers need to have access to locally-grown produce and work together to build a more resilient food system through the supply and demand of local food at the YKFM.”
Still, they acknowledge that, like all groups and businesses at this time, they are learning as they go as they navigate reopening the market in ways that are safe for all vendors, customers and community members.
From baked goods and prepared meals to art and produce, there will be nearly 30 venders to choose from.
For Fish on the Bay, Vaillancourt has been selling at YKFM on and off since its inception in 2013.
As for what market-goers can expect from them on Tuesday, Vaillancourt says they will “have all kinds of different fish products again and different things that we’re experimenting with.”
“I hope people are going to be happy and enjoy the good days and come out and shop local,” she says.
The market will operate weekly until Sept. 8.