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Farmers Market to open Saturday
Farmers Market.jpg
The Farmers Market will open this Saturday, but it won’t look anything like this file photo from the peak of growing season. Only around 10 vendors are expected and they will be spread throughout the pavilion due to COVID-19 concerns.

Warren County Farmers Market will open for the season this Saturday, April 4.

McMinnville’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen agreed to leave the pavilion open during the times it will be used by the Farmers Market organization. It was originally on the list of building closures due to the fear of COVID-19.

“We feel it could be a big part of how some people get some of the food they need,” said Mark Santucci, president of the Farmers Market. “We are going to have vendors spread out and we will have two hand-washing stations with soap and water. Early in the season is not traditionally a busy time for us anyway so it should be no problem keeping vendors apart. We’ll see how this goes and see if we need to make any changes as the season progresses.”

Because vegetables haven’t had much time to grow at this point in the year, Santucci said opening day usually only has about 10 vendors. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if that number was even less this year due to coronavirus concerns.

Santucci offered to make car-side accommodations for senior citizens who feel they need additional social distancing. 

Board members voted 6-1 in favor of allowing the market to open.

“From an epidemiological standpoint, this has just started,” said Alderman Ryle Chastain, who voted against allowing the market to open. “In two weeks, it is highly likely the infection rate would be in full swing in Tennessee.”

Mayor Ben Newman said he will close the pavilion if necessary.

“If it gets to that point, as mayor, I can declare a state of emergency. If we need to address that, I will,” said Newman, who offered Santucci a word of warning. “Spread out the vendors. If we find you aren’t spreading out the vendors, then we will close it down.” 

The market is scheduled to open April 4 and will be open each Saturday from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. In May, the market will also be open on Wednesdays during those same hours.