The bell rang at 9 a.m. Saturday, announcing the start of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. Then, the clouds opened. Rain poured in sheets, drenching everyone, creating pools on vendor tents, and a creek between Dickinson’s Delights and the Feathered Antler.
Such has been the scene often this summer, with our more-frequent-than-usual rainfalls. Does this matter? To market goers? To vendors? To me, as the market director tasked with the job of ensuring that all who visit the Saratoga Farmers’ Market have an enjoyable yet safe experience?
“We’ve had a lot of cool weather and recently some very heavy downpours at the market,” said Sean Dean, of Nettle Meadow Farm. “I don’t worry if it’s raining when the market begins because ten minutes later it could be a beautiful day.”
Our customers seem to agree, as our market has been as busy as ever. Most of our regular customers are like our market – rain-or-shine shoppers. For that, I am grateful.
“I think these rainy days are an adventure,” said market regular Pattie Garrett. “And, kids love splashing through puddles. Everything is under a roof. You just need to dash between tents and pavilions.”
To keep vendors and customers safe, we take precautions. We weigh down tents with concrete-filled buckets, sandbags or disc weights. We monitor the pavilion gutters for leaks and are prepared to move vendors if necessary. Vendors come prepared with rain jackets, boots, and increasingly brooms or sticks to help shake accumulating water off the tops of their tents.
Stored on-site are tarps and tent panels, extra tent weights and rope in case of high winds, a flashlight, and a variety of tools that a pop-up market might suddenly need.
While heavy rains have damaged crops, farmers are replanting and continuing to offer the best of what they have. And with the rain the best often is even better. Think of stalks of Swiss chard freshly (rain) washed; beets, carrots, patty pan squash and zucchini in brilliant hues, the white salad onions tasting even sweeter.
Meanwhile, I monitor forecasts on two weather apps. I watch the sky and try to get a feel for the humidity. Regardless, I know we’ll be open, rain or shine.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park. Find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.