Payson Farmers Market

In a pre-pandemic picture, Payson’s Farmers Market bustles with customers. The market will open this year on May 23, using public health guidelines — tents will be spaced to provide enough room for 6 feet apart and only vendors touch produce. Market directors hope restrictions will ease as the season progresses in order to return to normal.

You will notice a few things have changed at the Payson Farmers Market when it opens May 23, including fewer vendors because of COVID-19.

“Our goal is still food, fun and community — it’s just going to look different this year,” said Lorian Roethlein, one of the directors of the market.

The market will space tents further apart to provide enough room for customers to practice social distancing, and they have reduced the number of vendors from the usual 38-43, to 29.

All vendors will wear masks and gloves and there will be hand washing stations available for guests.

“Our hope is to return to normal size before the end of the season, while doing our best to provide a great market,” said Lorian.

On opening day, May 23, vendors will work with enhanced safety protocols.

“To avoid contamination, customers can shop with their eyes, not their hands; once they know what they want to purchase, the vendor will fill their bag for them,” said Lorian.

She and her husband John launched the Farmers Market in 2009 with the focus on “growing healthy food and community.”

Lorian has no interest in dropping that mission in the face of a pandemic.

“We’re creating the market to blend together a safe shopping experience and supporting over 30 small businesses during these challenging times,” she said.

The market focuses on providing food and art produced within 100 miles of Payson to support local businesses.

Except the pasta.

“The handmade pasta ... is from Colorado,” said Lorian. “Only because the vendor was grandfathered in and their production moved.”

The social distancing recommendations don’t stop with the set up of the market.

Until public health recommendations change, the market will suspend its normal weekend activities.

In past years, musicians played as customers sat at tables and enjoyed prepared food. There was a pie-eating contest, and weekly games for the kids.

“We’re hoping by Fourth of July to start activities,” said Lorian.

For now, the market will not provide a seating area for prepared food, but will work closely with the county health department to see when they can add seating and events.

2020 Farmers Market

Opening Day: Saturday, May 23

Hours: 8 a.m. to noon

Closing Day: Saturday, Sept. 12

Returning vendors

• Abby Lee Farms

• AZ Bread Co.

• AZ Cheese Curds

• Boyd’s Farm with eggs, honey and jams made with Tonto Basin orchard fruit

• Creek Water Farms, an expanded menu of fruits and vegetables from Gisela

• Crazy Dog Kettle Corn

• Da’Nede Farms from Camp Verde

• Dr. Hummus

• Fresh lemonade, tea and cold brew coffee from Ellie Klein

• Herb Lady Gardens

• Los Muertos Chips & Salsa

• Mrs. C’s Healthy Living, oils, vinegars, bitters & herbs

• PastaMore’

• RA Seasonings

• Tuck & Bird Ranch Beef (previously Heritage Ranch)

• Wellphora CBD products

Prepared carry-out food from:

• Falah’s Middle Eastern Food

• No Sauce BBQ

• Squarz Savory & Sweet handheld pies

• Tamale Store

• Taste Buds Indian Food

New vendors

• Danzeisen Dairy with old-fashioned glass bottled milk; creams, butters, lemonades, OJ and cold brew coffee

• Arizona Mushroom Co. with Payson raised mushrooms

• JMH, made to order pancakes, omelets, grilled cheese and meatloaf sandwiches

• Green Chili Smokehouse, everything green chili for you to season and cook with.

• Artisan Treats, Truffles & Confections

• Barking Butcher Dog Treats (Payson)

Art Vendors

• Emerald Spalding Leather Jewelry

• That Apron Shop

Contact the reporter at mnelson@payson.com

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