Shelton Farmers' Market offering virtual marketplace beginning this week

SHELTON — The annual farmers’ market is going virtual in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Market administrator Meg Hyndman said lovers of fresh dairy and produce, among other tasty treats, can participate in the online pre-order market box plan beginning this week.

In all, there are 10 vendors and many more ready to join, said Hyndman, adding that the popular farmers’ market operation was altered “in an effort to protect our valued vendors and customers.

“We think this is the best way to reduce the contact between our vendors and customers and will be the most profitable way to run the market during this strict time of social distancing,” said Hyndman.

“We hope to have the market physically open by August,” added Hyndman. “We feel most comfortable reopening physically when our state’s case and death numbers drop significantly from the Covid-19 virus.”

Each week, market volunteers will be arranging “market boxes” with specific themes using the produce and goods that are available from the vendors that week. The information will be placed on the market website and social media at the beginning of the week and customers may pre-order their box before Friday.

On Saturdays, all vendors involved will meet down at the market building with proper protective gear (mask and gloves) and pack their items into the boxes. Customers will then stop by the market building, between 9 a.m. and noon to pick up their pre-ordered and prepacked boxes.

An example of a market box, according to Hyndman, is the “Market Breakfast Box.” Valued at $30, the prepacked box would include a dozen eggs, a pack of bacon, a bunch of fresh herbs, a bag of granola and a loaf of artisan bread.

“We have many new vendors for this season and many returning,” said Hyndman. “We've seen a great response so far to our online market, and we are excited to see how that does this season.”

This year’s vendors at present are Laurel Glen Farm, East Village Farm, Oronoque Farms, Vics Guac Shop, Three Bridges Coffeeshop, Gathered Harvest Granola, Bequest Coffee, Granfield Fisheries, Charlies Chaga and Shaggy Coos Farm.

“As the growing season progresses with nicer weather, we look forward to adding more produce to the box options,” added Hyndman.