June 27 Abby Lee Farms Payson Farmer's Market

Abby Lee Farms has cabbage, squash and plants for sale every Saturday at the Payson Farmers Market.

The 2020 Payson Farmers Market has adapted to the times — and shoppers love it.

“They are grateful for the extra space,” said Lorian Roethlein, who co-founded the market with her husband John.

The market has spaced out stalls adding an extra parking lot row. Stalls have more space between them and marks on the ground help people keep 6 feet apart while waiting in line. Along with the added precautions, most shoppers and vendors wear masks or shields. Handwashing stations are placed between stalls to encourage increased handwashing for safety.

Lorian and John founded the market during the 2008 recession. It’s flourished since then and the pandemic hasn’t slowed it.

“Our receipts are tracking like last year,” said Lorian.

“We’ll do our 200th market this year,” said John, adding they are planning a big celebration.

John this year launched the Arizona Mushroom Company at the market. He grows shitakes and sells them both fresh and dried.

Shoppers Jennifer Smith and Barbara Underwood, both candidates for the Payson Town Council, brought market bags and their masks to the farmers market Saturday.

Both came “to see people,” and “to support the community.”

Underwood had one other errand.

“My husband asked me to go and pick up some kettle corn,” she said, then she’ll pick up something “delicious for myself.”

Smith carried a lemonade from Ellie’s Fresh booth.

“She gives half her profits to the school district,” said Smith of the Payson Unified School District student.

For those who have shopped at the Payson Farmers Market over the years, one thing will stand out this year, “it’s not a hangout,” said John.

In the past, the market hosted events such as cantaloupe bowling, live musicians and games for the kids. Until the pandemic passes and it’s safe to return to group activities, the farmers market will continue to support social distancing.

The Payson Farmers Market, at 816 Beeline Highway, behind Chili’s, is open from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday.

Contact the reporter at mnelson@payson.com

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