By Carol Meyer
The Hingham Farmers Market -- the third oldest farmers' market in the state -- is back for another season, with a new format and temporary location.
Prior to the much-anticipated May 23 opening day, HFM fans with have an opportunity to learn all about the new “pre-order/pickup, drive-through” system that will be in place for the time being. All orders will be pre-paid to simplify the process.
Farmers' markets are considered to be essential businesses, with social distancing and other guidelines in place that were set forth earlier by Governor Charlie Baker.
While at first there will be no pedestrian traffic or on-site sales, eventually HFM organizers hope to be able to move back to the bathing beach parking lot -- where the market is normally located -- under the usual walk-through model.
The new temporary location until COVID-19 restrictions ease at the bathing beach is the Station Street parking lot, where the market first began its operation in 1977. The hours are 9 a.m. to noon.
Check out the ordering instructions and details about which vendors are participating on the Hingham Farmers Market website, www.hinghamfarmersmarket.org.
"This is a great sign of spring!" said Selectmen Chair Karen Johnson recently when HFM President Mark Cullings presented the board with the new plan. "The farmers market is so important to folks in Hingham and beyond."
The way the new system will work is that during regular HFM hours, customers who have placed orders from the eight current produce and protein (seafood, beef, poultry, eggs, and pork) vendors earlier in the week will be directed to drive through the market to their vendors’ stations. Orders will be placed in their vehicles by the vendors.
Signage will direct market patrons in and out of the lot, and maps will be provided to help them locate individual vendors. Customers picking up orders will be asked to display a sign with their name for easy identification by vendors from whom they have ordered.
There's a learning curve to the new system, so be sure to become familiar with it to ensure the best experience possible!
By: Carol Britton Meyer
HinghamLink is a volunteer service connecting people who want to help with people who need help during the COVID-19 crisis.
This service is available to seniors, as well as other residents, who would like to hear a friendly voice on the other end of the phone line when they’re feeling isolated, can't get out to pick up groceries, or who just need assistance in getting through the day. A trash removal service is provided for Hingham seniors.
Volunteers wanting to make calls or to lend a helping hand, as well as those looking for assistance or an encouraging phone call, can sign up on the HinghamLink website. It's quick and easy to do!
The website is also home to the Face Mask Task Force and the colllaborative Hingham Food Project, which was created to ensure that no Hingham resident who is struggling during this challenging time goes hungry.
All services are free, and more volunteers are welcome. Those requesting a call or services will be matched with a volunteer.
For more information, to sign up as a volunteer, or to receive a phone call or to request assistance, visit hinghamlink.com.
By Carol Britton Meyer
Now that it's spring, with summer fast approaching, one's thoughts turn naturally to the Hingham Bathing Beach in anticipation of swimming, sunbathing, and picnics while enjoying beautiful views of the harbor.
But because of COVID-19, including concerns about large gatherings and social distancing guidelines set forth by the state, the Bathing Beach Trustees are uncertain as to how the season will unfold.
Beach plans are in the formative stages, "largely dependent on the overlying state regulations and getting the appropriate approvals at the town level," Trustee Alan Perrault said recently.
While working cooperatively with various town boards and Hingham Farmers Market organizers in planning for the upcoming season, the trustees were awaiting word from Gov. Charlie Baker about whether he would extend the state's stay-at-home advisory beyond the current May 4 date. That happened recently, when it was extended to May 18.
"In a perfect world we'd open sometime in July," according to Perrault -- but that's not a given due to the COVID-19 crisis.
In the meantime, let's hope things settle down enough so that beach lovers will be able to spend at least part of the summer at the bathing beach.
By Carol Britton Meyer
The transition of the water system serving Hingham, Hull, and part of Cohasset from Aquarion Water Company to Town of Hingham ownership could happen as soon as July 1.
At that time there will be a new name -- Weir River Water System, earlier chosen by the selectmen from among many suggestions submitted by customers.
Once the town starts operating the system, the water rates will remain the same as they are now for the first year of operation, according to town officials. The system will run as a self-supporting "enterprise” account.
About the same amount of revenue will be collected under town ownership, but the costs will be lower because the shareholder profit requirement no longer exists, according to Selectman Mary Power.
Town Meeting will consider water system-associated warrant articles. For more details see the Town Meeting warrant, which will be mailed to every Hingham household and is also posted on the Town of Hingham website.
Town meeting has been postponed until June 22, although that could change.
By Carol Meyer
The town could have a new public safety facility and an expanded senior center in the future if voters at the upcoming Town Meeting give the go-ahead. (The date was recently postponed until June 22, but that could change.)
The Hingham Selectmen recently voted to endorse a letter of intent to purchase a 3.1-acre parcel at 335 Lincoln St. (the current location of Russo Marine) to construct such a facility, which would include a new police station and satellite fire station at that location.
The board also introduced Town Meeting warrant articles for design funding to renovate the space currently occupied by the police department, “enabling us to double or triple the size of the [adjacent] senior center,” according to Selectman Mary Power.
The Advisory Committee's recommendations on these articles will be included in the Town Meeting warrant that is mailed to every Hingham household.
What are your thoughts about this proposal?
By Carol Meyer
These days things sure look and feel different -- well-spaced long lines at supermarkets and squirts of hand sanitizer as we come and go, a shortage of items that used to be in full supply, the recent recommendation that we wear face masks when outside our homes, and social distancing that separates us from family and friends. To say nothing of the feeling of unease that seems to permeate everything we do.
That said, there's a lot of good going on. Overall, people are slowing down their fast-paced lifestyles -- out of necessity maybe, but still a good thing. Different groups and individuals are making much-needed face masks, donating food to The Hingham Food Pantry for those who have found themselves out of a job, at least for now, and volunteering to be part of the Hingham Link -- a newly formed volunteer service connecting people who need help with those who want to help. Families may get on each other's nerves from spending so much time in each other's company, with the schools closed for who knows how long, but they are also enjoying more family time and meals together.
In short, with so much extra time on our hands, we have more opportunities to think about what's really important to us and to express more gratitude for all that we have and can share with others during this challenging time -- from calling a friend or family member to see how they're doing to offering a few kind words to another customer who's standing six feet apart from us in a long line on a rainy day.
These are unprecedented and challenging times for sure, but we will make it through.
By Carol Meyer