KATONAH, N.Y. - By the reopening of the popular weekly market at Muscoot Farm this Sunday, May 17, the county hopes to give pandemic-weary residents the chance to get some fresh air and sunshine while safely supporting the hardworking folks who produce their food.

Although outdoor spaces at many county parks—including Muscoot on Route 100 and Lasdon Park in Somers—have remained open and have been enjoyed by social-distancing visitors, this weekly opportunity will be a little different.

“We’re all at the beginning of a learning curve,” said Peter Tartaglia, first deputy commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation, pointing out that the selling of food is considered an essential service.

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But not to worry: The county has what it thinks is a “good plan” to make sure things go smoothly.

First, and most importantly, folks cannot just show up; advance registration is required. Verification of that free registration, either by printout or via phone screen, must be shown upon arrival.

The market will be open from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., rain or shine, every Sunday through Nov. 22. The day will be divided into six 5-minute blocks with a maximum of 30 people permitted to shop at one time.

County police will direct traffic and maintain order on the interpretive farm-museum’s grounds, and extra staff will make sure shoppers are following the rules.

Those include:
• Masks and gloves must be worn at all times by vendors and customers.
• Shopping time is limited to 30 minutes, although 20 minutes is encouraged. (Handling merchandise is definitely discouraged. Best to just eyeball that tasty treat, put it in your basket and move on.)
• One-way circulation through the market will be enforced.
• Credit/debit card or a contactless form of payment is preferred; bring cash as an alternative. (And try to pay for items with exact change.)
• Arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before your scheduled time.

There might be a few kinks to work out at the start, but the county is optimistic that the extra effort will be worth it for all concerned.

Its mission is, after all, to enhance the physical and mental well-being of residents, according to Tartaglia.

“We’re learning a new way of doing business, too,” he said. “The Farmers Market at Muscoot has been a favorite destination for Westchester residents over the years. It’s a great way to support local farmers and food producers and an opportunity to buy some great fresh foods,” said County Executive George Latimer in announcing the move Thursday, May 7.

The procedures put in place by the Parks Department “will make a trip to the market enjoyable while assuring social distancing,” he added.

For more details, call Muscoot at 914-864-7283. To register, go to westchestercountyparks.eventbrite.com.

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