The Brunswick Winter Market continues this winter every Saturday at Fort Andross in downtown Brunswick.

The market runs from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This year, the market spaced out its vendors and required shoppers to wear masks in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Volunteers stationed near the entrance made sure no more than 50 people enter the former mill building at a time.

Some vendors chose to set up outside in the parking lot to sell goods including produce, meat and seafood. Others chose not to participate in the market this winter due to the pandemic.

Jimmy DeBiasi was among those shopping at the market Saturday. DeBiasi is the director of programs for the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets.

After the coronavirus pandemic reached Maine in March 2020, DeBiasi said people flocked to farmers’ markets last summer so sales on average, went up. Winter market sales vary across markets, he said. Businesses who sell at the markets have taken a hit but DeBiasi said he believes there is a segment of consumers grateful to have farmers’ markets as an alternative to crowded grocery stores.

People were too scared to go to the grocery store after the pandemic hit, said Jan Goranson of Goranson Farm in Dresden. Her farm opened a farm stand on March 18 of 2020 which has been open every day since as another option for customers.

It has been a good winter for the farm, Goranson said. The Brunswick Winter Market has provided a safe environment for shoppers and staff, she said. Goranson Farm created a “one-touch” service meaning shoppers aren’t touching any products that need to be weighed or handled by staff. Staff gets it for them, instead.

Goranson said her farm has been selling at farmers’ markets since 1986.

“It’s been the primary way of our farm surviving,” she said.

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