The Waterville Farmers Market will look decidedly different from a year ago because of the restrictions that come with the coronavirus pandemic. Masks, spacing, and an emphasis on pre-ordering food and picking it up will be the order of the day on Thursdays at Head of Falls. Morning Sentinel file photo

The Downtown Waterville Farmers’ Market is open for the season, but operating under new practices and restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The weekly market is at the parking lot at Head of Falls, along the Kennebec River on Front Street.

“The market will no longer operate as a traditional farmers’ market, but more of a food-distribution location,” said Debra Vermette, chair of the Downtown Waterville Farmers’ Market.

We are asking customers to not come to market if they are sick, or if someone in their household is sick, with symptoms of COVID-19. We ask that they please send a friend to pick up their groceries instead.” 

The directors of the market are also asking customers to:

• Wear face coverings and, if possible, bring hand sanitizer.


• Keep a distance of 6 feet from one another and the vendors.

• Not touch the products.

• Not socialize, eat or linger at the market.

• Use smaller bills when paying by cash.

• Bring their own pen if paying by personal check.

“We’re trying to get folks the food and the seedlings and other agricultural products that they need in the safest possible way,” said Hanne Tierney, one of the market’s founding members and former chairwoman. “You’ll see that our farmers will be wearing face masks and there will be a lot of hand sanitizing.


“We’re asking people this year to not make it a family affair. Just send one person in to get what you need and, unlike normal, where it’s usually a social event, it will be very straightforward and less social this year.”

To make social distancing at the market even easier, an online ordering system has been established for customers.

“For this summer, we will continue to use the preorder system and we encourage folks to take advantage of this system to guarantee market members will have what they are looking for,” Vermette said. “Since the farmers’ market is a group of individual producers, they each have their own way of offering a preordering system.

“We have posted on our website and Facebook page a link to a document that connects you with each individual member and whether they are currently at market and how to preorder from them.  This document will be updated on a weekly basis.” 

The market’s first two weeks have generated positive results, even with the restrictions, according to Vermette.

“It seems as a result of the pandemic, products from farmers are in higher demand. We are already seeing an increase in the number of customers shopping with us,” Vermette said. “We hope this trend continues beyond the pandemic. Customer support has been phenomenal.”


The market is open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Thursday. The first half-hour is reserved for senior citizens and immunocompromised or “high risk” customers, according to Vermette.

This Thursday, representatives from Waterville Creates!, a local nonprofit organization, will be at the market from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. handing out free art kits for children and families.

The Downtown Waterville Farmers’ Market was established in 2006 by the former Waterville Main Street organization.

Members include The Apple Farm, Fairfield; Burke Hill Farm, Cherryfield; Cornerstone Farm, Palmyra; Eagle View Gardens and Haunted Trail Pumpkins, Winslow; Good Bread, Brownfield; Heald Farm, Troy; The Highlands, St. Albans; Humble Forge Blacksmithing, Waterville; Junction Garden, Vassalboro; Kennebec Cheesery at Koons Farm, Sidney;  LOMAH, Sangerville; Marr Pond Farm, Sangerville; Sat Manav Yoga Ashram, Industry; Snakeroot Organic Farm, Pittsfield; Stone Fox Creamery, Searsport; Winterberry Farm, Belgrade; Wise Acre Farm, Kenduskeag; and Worcester’s Wild Blueberries, Orneville Township.

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