As restrictions begin to ease and the warm weather returns to Rocky View County, the Crossfield Farmer’s Market has officially kicked off its 2021 season.
The weekly markets will be held on Thursday afternoons from 3:30 to 7 p.m. at the Crossfield and District Community Centre. The markets will run until September, offering made, baked or homegrown products from throughout Rocky View County and its surrounding regions.
“We are feeling good,” said market manager Cheryl Shea. “As restrictions lessen, we will move with them.”
With temperatures above 30 C for the market's opening day on June 3, the first event was held completely outside with roughly 50 vendors and food trucks spaced out in the Crossfield and District Community Centre parking lot.
Since the pandemic started, market organizers have implemented several measures to ensure their events can take place safely. Masking, social distancing, sanitizing and one-directional traffic are a few protocols that have helped markets continue.
“The only thing different so far, is that masks aren’t required outside unless you can’t social distance, which is what we are following,” said Shea, who won the Alberta Farmers' Market Association’s 2020 Outstanding Manager of the Year Award earlier this year.
She added as the markets go on, there will be more vendors rotating in and out of Crossfield's weekly event.
“We have our full-time base, then we have our part time people rotating in as well,” she said. “It will be different every week.”
While setting the market up during the pandemic was initially a hassle, Shea said operating is much easier now, after all the experience she and the vendors gained over the last year.
“We have done it for so long now, this is just a part of what we do,” she said. “It will hopefully just get easier with time.”
With Alberta set to enter Stage 2 of its reopening plan as early as this week, Shea said organizers are not getting ahead of themselves for future events.
“What I have learned over the last 15 months is to not get too far ahead of yourself, because things can change on a dime,” she said. “Last year, I did everything three or four times because I had to keep redoing it with all of the changes. We are just going with the flow.”
Through the entirety of the pandemic, the market has advocated for local businesses that make up the market and has done everything possible to make sure events could move forward. In a previous story with the Rocky View Weekly, Shea referenced stories of vendors having to cash in their life savings to stay afloat.
“It hurts my heart,” she said. “These people are desperate to survive. We are seeing more and more vendors come out this year because they are trying to reinvent their lives. We have a privilege and obligation to do this for them.”
Shea added she is just happy to continue offering the markets.