May 27, 2020

Princeton Farmers Market Reopening, Relocated to Franklin Avenue Lot

By Anne Levin

The popular Princeton Farmers Market will reopen this Thursday, May 28, but the traditional Hinds Plaza location has been switched out this year for a spot where social distancing can take place. The parking lot on Franklin Avenue, across from the Avalon Princeton development, will allow for drive-up as well as walk-up access to vendors selling produce.

“Retailers will be required to mask up, as will participants,” said Princeton Health Officer Jeffrey Grosser during a press conference Tuesday afternoon. “Each farmer has gone through a basic checklist from the health department about how to operate safely. Jack Morrison [of the JM Group] and Max Hoagland [market manager] have been assisting us with the training and making sure there are certain criteria they have to meet.”

About a dozen farmers will be selling fruits and vegetables at the market, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., as in previous years at Hinds Plaza. The public gathering place next to Princeton Public Library was “not suitable” for operating the market at this time, while COVID-19 restrictions are in place, Grosser said. “It had to be more spread out.”

All customers at the market will be required to follow social distancing protocols. “We’re working with farmers and event coordinators to make sure the flow of people won’t create a cluster, make sure masking is done, and try to get the guidance out,” Grosser said.

Mayor Liz Lempert said Tuesday that Princeton Council will hold special meetings next month in order to make the process of reopening local businesses more flexible. On Monday, June 1, Council plans to introduce an ordinance; a public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled to be held on Monday, June 15.

“We’re putting forward an ordinance that is going to add some flexibility and allow us to be a little more nimble in dealing with the changing landscape as businesses are allowed to start reopening,” she said. Things like installing curbside pickup zones, parking meter regulations, sidewalk dining, and the closure of certain streets are among the situations the ordinance could address.

“Normally, these changes would take an ordinance and a three- to four-week process, but this will allow Council to do things by resolution instead of ordinance,” Lempert added. “We’re trying to get ahead of this. We want to be ready to move when the rulings come down from the governor’s office.”