Putnam Farmers’ Market adapting to the situation

Renée and Tim Lasko, Market Masters for the Putnam Saturday Farmers’ Market, said it wasn’t a difficult decision to keep the market open for this year’s growing season.

“The Putnam Saturday Farmers’ Market (PSFM) is something that the community looks forward to. so everyone wanted to find a way to keep the Market open,” said Lasko. Putnam is in a rural area of the state, and has a lot of farmers that depend on the PSFM to sell what they grow.


“We spent a lot of time finding ways to make our Market safer,” said Lasko, mentioning Deptartment of Agriculture recommendations among the sources consulted.

Although all of the Market’s full-season farmers have returned this year, a few of the partial-season farmers and artisans chose not to participate.


“We (and they) hope that they will be able to return when things become more stable,” said Lasko.

The PSFM also leaves space for one or two artisans each week, but early on, most decided not to participate this year.

The PSFM is held in a pavilion on the Quinebaug river. Typically, customers enter the pavilion and wander about freely to shop. This year, the Market was turned inside out. Farmers and staff are the only ones allowed under the pavilion. They face outward, towards the asphalt. Only one customer at a time is allowed to approach a farmer’s tables, most of which are doubled to make sure there’s a six-foot distance between farmers and customers.

“Spots have been painted at six-foot intervals to help with social distancing,” said Lasko. Other safety measures include banning customer vehicles from the area surrounding the pavilion, and requiring face masks for all vendors and customers in the pavilion area. Customers are asked to shop alone, and not bring along spouses and/or children.

News @3

News @3


Catch up on the day’s top headlines sent directly to your inbox weekdays at 3 p.m

“We’ve had little resistance and even a few compliments about this year’s setup,” said Lasko.

While some customers have needed reminding to wear masks, most have gotten used to it. “We have procedures in place to assist customers who are medically unable to wear a mask,” said Lasko.

Actual foot-traffic has been a bit lower than usual, but sales have been good, trends attributed to the one-shopper-per-family request. Regulars have been returning this year.

“We’re just starting the peak months of our season and, despite the reduced traffic, our farmers tell us people are coming to buy,” said Lasko. “Some of our farmers have told us that this June was the best they’ve ever had.”


This year, the Deptartment of Agriculture’s guidance prohibited music and programming.

“While we’ve had music and other special programs in the past, this year we’re concentrating on getting food to our customers safely,” said Lasko.

The Putnam Saturday Farmers’ Market is open on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., through October 5. The Market is located at 18 Kennedy Drive.