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!