New Brunswick

Vendors adapt to life without Boyce Farmers Market

It’s a Saturday tradition for Frederictonians to flock to the Boyce Farmers Market, but recent COVID-19 precautions have taken that tradition away.

Businesses turn to online, delivery options to stay afloat

The Boyce Farmers Market is typically packed on a Saturday morning, but it's had to shut its doors due to COVID-19. (Boyce Farmers Market/Facebook )

It's a Saturday tradition for Frederictonians to flock to the Boyce Farmers Market; grab a coffee, wander the stalls, and pick up some local groceries. 

But recent COVID-19 precautions have left market-goers without their usual Saturday practice. 

In order to keep their businesses afloat, many market vendors are testing the waters of delivery and pick-up. 

Hetty Smyth, owner of Armdale Farm Dairy says although it was sad to see the Market close its doors, she's transitioned smoothly to doing delivery and take-out.

"Well it's definitely been an adjustment. But we're very humbled and appreciative of the support that we've received."

Smyth says business is still thriving, but she misses the community at the Market.

"Words cannot describe how humbling that is that our customers are looking for us, and we're certainly missing them, that's for sure. We're seeing a few of them on our pick up days and delivery days," she said. 

"We definitely miss everyone and we hope that we can see them back at the Market sooner rather than later."

Smyth has partnered with Country Home Bakery and Mountain View Produce, so customers can get all their essentials in one stop.

Just keep adapting, that's the name of the game.- Hetty Smyth

Customers can order online during the week, and can then pick up their hauls on Saturday on George Street, where Smyth will put orders directly into trunks so as to avoid any contact.

Smyth is also offering curb-side pick up at their Armdale Farm store in Sussex.

"it's definitely strange, and every day seems to be a different chapter of this huge book that we call COVID-19," she said. 

"But it is what it is and we just have to do the best that we can and be safe and responsible. 

"Just keep adapting, that's the name of the game." 

As of this weekend, 15 vendors have moved to a delivery and pick-up model for local produce, meat, dairy and more.

Support local

Stacey Russell is the tourism manager for the City of Fredericton, and also sits on the board of the Market. She says losing the Saturday tradition has been an adjustment for everyone.

"There's quite a few traditions that have been unfortunately changed right now, but it is very important for the Boyce Farmers Market and for everyone to continue to ensure that the public practices social distancing," she said. 

"When everything is lifted the market will be back and we look forward to welcoming everyone again."

The Market is helping out its vendors all it can, including launching its new website sooner than planned, and promoting vendors who are offering delivery on social media.

Russell said the city has also compiled a list of all local businesses that are offering delivery and pick up, in an effort to boost the local economy.

"It is wonderful to see how much the general public is supporting local as much as they can.

As to whether the Market will be able to survive a potential long-term closure of its doors, Russell said discussions around finances have yet to be had.