The Bentley Farmer’s Market has decided to move online and not hold a physical market this summer.
Manager Wendy Buyar says it made more sense this year to have an online market, given measures put in place to fight spread of COVID-19.
“At the best of times, it is absolutely insane at the market, so for the safety of everyone, this seemed like the best option,” said Buyar .
The online market has been in the works for a while. Buyar attended a seminar in the United States, where expanding a farmer’s market into the digital spear was discussed.
She said because of the seminar, the Bentley market was ahead of the curve in planning when the epidemic emerged.
Buyar said having an online presence will be a benefit to producers who rely on farmer’s markets for their income.
Even though farmer’s markets are considered essential services by the provincial government, Buyar says it is hard to regulate the number of people and the amount of space between everyone.
With online shopping, producers will still be able to rely on income from the market, while staying safe and practising social distancing.
It’ll also help big producers such as greenhouses, Buyar says.
“A lot of times, the big producers don’t know what items are going to be popular, or how much stock to bring. With the online component, they will be able to better judge what to bring and have pre-orders as well,” said Buyar.
She said the online market will be set up similar to sites such as Etsy, where each vendor will have a shop page the customer can visit, where products and prices are listed.
So far, four vendors have their shops open on the website. Roughly 28 more are working to have their shop up and running soon.
Each vendor will detail their preferred delivery method. In some cases, a vendor may offer home delivery on a specific day of the week, while others may offer curbside pickup on a different day at a specific location.
“We wanted to make sure the deliveries and pickups were spread out to ensure we are still practising social distancing,” said Buyar.
Buyar says the online market will continue as part of the Bentley Farmer’s Market even after the pandemic has come to an end.