The Huntsville Farmers’ Market opened last Thursday at the Huntsville & District Agricultural Society Fairgrounds, but bad weather kept many customers indoors.

“Last week was a bit rainy so we still had dedicated people come out, but definitely more people browsing today and hopefully every week this season,” says Tara Dehaan of Dehaan Family Farms. “Every week tends to get a little bit busier, also when more vegetables and things are ready, it draws a bigger crowd. We have lots to offer down here, lots of meat, vegetables, crafters.”

Dehaan says she gets close to 90 per cent of her customers from farmers markets. She says that while COVID-19 did not hit her as hard as some other businesses, she’s happy the market was able to continue this year.

“At some of the chain grocery stores, there’s been loss of production, so some of the things we have haven’t been on the shelves,” says Dehaan. “Farmers’ markets are how people get to know your business, so when we’re here we’re able to talk to our customers, share our farming practices, and it builds from there.”

This year’s market does not differ too much from last year, with the exception of some new vendors, according to Sherry Leverdingen, manager of the Huntsville Farmers’ Market. During the 2020 season, arts and crafts vendors were allowed to sell at the market, something that has continued this year.

Leverdingen says she hopes the turnout at the market this week is a sign that things are starting to return to normal.

“I hope people are out there getting the needle; let’s get rid of this COVID and any other fires that go with it so that we can all go back to a normal life,” says Leverdingen. “Get the market up and running [in] full, [so] people aren’t afraid to come out and visit. That way you would be able to pick up that cucumber and look at it, but right now you can’t touch anything at our booths.”

The market’s offerings come exclusively from local producers, with a strict no outside reselling policy. It runs every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Huntsville & District Agricultural Society Fairgrounds, next to the outdoor pavilion.