Farmers Market Ogden persevered through COVID

Braxton Brownlee

What once was a street lined for blocks with artists selling their creations, musicians hoping for their big break and vendors selling home-grown produce became a mere block of only select vendors.

Many people attended the Ogden Farmers Market. (Dalton Flandro / The Signpost)
Many people attend the Ogden Farmers Market. (Dalton Flandro / The Signpost) Photo credit: Signpost Archives

Though smaller than before, the Farmers Market Ogden remained open this past summer, deemed an essential business by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Even though it remained open, not everyone was allowed to participate in this year’s market. Artists and musicians were allowed to return to the market this year under COVID-19 restrictions.

In a normal year, the market stretches from Washington Boulevard down to Wall Avenue on 25th Street. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s market was reduced to Washington Boulevard through Grant Avenue.

Some tried to help keep the market a fun and enjoyable place. James Edwards, founder of James Gourmet Pies, greeted every individual walking past his stand with an upbeat “How ya doing today?”

“While there are a few more things we have to do, the market is run the same,” Edwards said. “There is a more serious tone, but I’m happy to be here.”

Mask requirements and how vendors were able to hand out samples were the main changes. All samples had to be pre-packaged in condiment containers. For some, this change was positive: Edwards said he will always pre-package his samples from now on.

However, many were unable to pre-package samples or just opted to not offer them at all. For example, Schtele Sausage was unable to operate the grill they usually had for cooking sausages to offer as samples to passersby, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Every booth at the market was spaced six feet apart, with those running booths wearing masks. Most patrons of the market were wearing masks and respecting each other’s space for social distancing. Despite wearing masks and keeping distance from those not in their own group, people were still laughing with their friends and family.

“It’s nice to be able to come out to the market and get some good local grown produce,” said Jessica Bravo, a regular patron of the market. “I really like being able to come out and support those who have worked so hard to be here.”

The Farmers Market Ogden decided not to put on a fall or winter market, choosing to prioritize the safety of vendors, artists, musicians and patrons.

Editor’s Note: The article reflected that the Food and Drug Administration deemed farmer’s markets essential; however, it was the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food that deemed it essential. The story has been updated.