Athens Farmers Market to reopen Saturday with restrictions

( Athens Farmers Market )

After about a month of ordering take out and foregoing haircuts, Georgians returned to somewhat normal habits last week.

They can now add the farmers' market to the list.

The Athens Farmers Market will reopen Saturday, May 9.

Because of the closure, farmers and other vendors had to improvise this season after their businesses were struck with the unforeseeable.

“We spent one night panicking, and the next morning we woke up, and my wife was on the computer building the e-commerce store … ‘Well, let’s do it,’” said Paul Sorah, one of three owners of Hearts of Harvest Farm.

So, the farmers' markets went digital. Shoppers could get locally grown produce delivered to their door.

But now they can greet people in-person again.

“I've been stopped on street corners by people asking me when the market is going to open back up, telling me that they are willing to wait in line for four hours if it just means they can come back to the farmers market,” said Sarah Thurman, the market manager of Athens Farmers Market.

Thurman says the market has on average 2,200 customers in a day.

Although the governor has eased some statewide restrictions, health professionals still recommend social distancing and wearing masks.

The Athens Farmers Market will require both.

They will also make people wash their hands before entering and only allow 50 people inside at one time. They prefer that people do not pay with cash but instead want people to use debit cards, credit cards or EBT cards.

“I just can’t wait to see people I love and I’ve seen every weekend for five years. I will give them all the eye winks and waves and air hugs,” Thurman said.

The Athens Farmers Market will open at 8 a.m. at Bishop Park.