By Matthew Lewis, Contributing Reporter
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – The Summer GreenMarket should have started its sixth season this weekend, but due to the coronavirus closures, the opening will be delayed. During the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Board Meeting on May 26th, plans were reviewed and it was decided to revisit the topic at the next meeting on June 23rd.
The Summer GreenMarket is normally open on Saturdays, 9AM to 12 Noon, from June 2nd through July, and has been located at the Tennis Center at 201 West Atlantic Avenue. The Summer Market is a petite version (approximately 35 vendors) of the Winter GreenMarket, which is located at Old School Square Park.
This year as the city cautiously re-opens along with county and state government, the CRA staff prepared an alternative plan to allow for safer social distancing. The proposed location is the Old School Square Pavilion, opening June 27th until July 25th with the same Saturdays, 9AM to 12 Noon schedule.
In addition there would be an occupancy limit of fifty people at a time, and the 35 vendors spaced 10 feet a part, with 25-foot-wide isles. Mandatory masks and gloves would be required for vendors and staff, and the market will be fenced with one staffed entrance and exit point.
Shelly Petrolia, Mayor for the City of Delray Beach, responded to the proposal saying, “We just went through a week of our beaches open, most of the time it was rainy, but it was a very difficult thing to enforce, even with just the passive activities that were allowed.”
Adding, “So I don’t think […] it’s realistic for what we’re going to be having to go through, and I don’t know where that enforcement is going to come in. So I would like to put it off at least until we find out where we are in this pandemic.”
There was some discussion about the management of the physical space, and how the limit of fifty people could be enforced. In regard to the venders, Executive Director of CRA, Renée Jadusingh, confirmed, “the vendors are actually really excited about coming back.”
Deputy Vice Mayor Shirley Johnson added, “I think it’s a wonderful idea first of all, I’d like to applaud the staff and their desires to accommodate not only the public, but our 35 venders who still want to do business in Delray Beach.”
The decision was made to revisit the plans at the next CRA board meeting on June 23rd, and potentially reopen as soon as June 27th. Needless to say the community is anxious for life to return to the new normal, and the COVID-19 infection rates over the next few weeks will determine how the Summer GreenMarket moves forward this year.
Started in 1996 by the Community Redevelopment Agency, the Delray GreenMarket has become one of the most popular and charming aspects of the “season” in Delray Beach. The market brings together South Florida’s premier vendors, bakers and small batch culinary artisans.
They offer summer produce, sprouts, fruit, baked goods, cheese, farm eggs, fresh seafood and juice, local honey, kombucha, fresh pasta, olives, olive oils, balsamic vinegars, jams, nut butters, pickles, hot peppers, hot sauce along with plenty of vegan, vegetarian and gluten free selections.