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Rupi Kumar looks at starter plants at the Father Earth Organic Farm stand at the Erie Farmers Market on Thursday, May 21, 2020 in Erie. (Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)
Rupi Kumar looks at starter plants at the Father Earth Organic Farm stand at the Erie Farmers Market on Thursday, May 21, 2020 in Erie. (Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)
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The season of farmers markets has begun in East Boulder County after Real Farmers Market opened two of its locations last week.

Real Farmers Market operates a market in Erie, Louisville and the Highlands in Denver. Erie opened on Thursday, Louisville on Saturday and Highlands will open on May 31 for the first time.

The Erie market opening on Thursday was a success, Market Manager Kelly Miller said.

“We had some glitches, and there’s things that we need to iron out,” Miller said. “But, there(were) less than I anticipated.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the markets look slightly different, but Miller said there are guidelines in place to ensure safety while providing fresh food to customers.

Marlene Macias, her husband Irving and daughter Mila, 2, buys honey from Julie Davis, at left, at the Bjorns Colorado Honey stand at the Erie Farmers Market on Thursday, May 21, 2020 in Erie. (Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)

But, she said the turnout at both markets was positive.

“Vendors were happy with sales,” Miller said. “Although some things were limited, most of the reported sales were the same as normal, which is amazing. I think that we predicated what people wanted and people that wanted to go were there to buy and support.”

The safety guidelines include limiting the number of people in the market at a time.

The markets also operate in a one-way direction, with an entrance and an exit to control the flow and number of customers, which will encourage decisive traffic patterns and discourage meandering through the market, Miller said.

“I have a better idea of how many people we can have in the market with the distancing,” she said. “That was something that I just really needed to see and how people were flowing and if they were having to linger or if they were just getting out of there.”

Previously, Miller said vendors will have a lot of prepackaged goods to make it easier for customers to grab and go.

One other major change from previous years is people will be required to wear face masks.

“There were some grumblings about masks,” Miller said.

She added people were respectful toward one another once inside.

“I was so happy,” Miller said. “I’ve gotten through the whole process and saw what it looks like, and it’s doable. It’s going to work. People will come in and shop, vendors have amazing products and people are happy to be outside and see each other. We can do this and do it safely and respectfully.”

Real Farmers Market had hoped to have an online shopping platform in place before the markets opened, but it could take a couple more weeks for the launch.

“I think it’s going to be great,” Miller said. “Markets that already have had it up are reporting they’re having great success.”

Elsewhere in Boulder County, the Boulder County Farmers Market reopened in Boulder on Saturday and plans to reopen in Longmont this coming Saturday. The Lafayette location on Iowa Avenue site will not open and instead will become a curbside pickup for Boulder County Farmers Markets virtual marketplace, which can be accessed at bcfm.localfoodmarketplace.com.


Market hoursThe Erie farmers market on Briggs Street between Wells and Moffat streets, is from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sept. 10.

The Louisville market at 824 Front St. is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 10.

Learn more at realfarmersmarketco.com.