Producers Tristia and John Lakey from Lakey Farm at a previous Lancefield and District Farmers Market.

LANCEFIELD Farmer’s Market celebrated 17 years of trading on Saturday drawing crowds of more than 200 despite coronavirus concerns.

To ensure visitors were not exposed to health risks, most stalls offered payment by card only, stall holders ensured 1.5-metre distancing between them and customers and hand sanitizing stations were placed at the entrance of the market.

The market was located at Lancefield Park to ensure enough room was available for stall holders and organisers to abide by social-distancing expectations.

Market manager Meggs Hennes emphasised the importance of regional producers during the ecoomic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The recent acknowledgement by the Premier of Victoria describing farmer’s markets as ‘essential events that should not be cancelled’ was a positive demonstration that access to fresh foods and other consumables was an important role that the markets were playing,” she said.

“Not only for consumers, but for farmers needing to access the community to keep their businesses afloat.

“We would love to thank all our supporters of the market, especially at this difficult time for everyone.”

A crowd-pleaser was Rafael’s Coffee which was made with freshly-roasted coffee blends and single origin beans.

“We took delivery of its latest single origin coffee after popular demand, the PNG Tungei Plantation AX. This is a delicious coffee harvested in the Wahgi Valley region of the Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea,” Ms Hennes said.

Other stalls at the market included the Murrnong Farm, Coolaman Natures Remedies, Sandor’s Harvest, Iris Vision and K’Boocha.

The Lancefield Farmers Market received some negative feedback online with concerns of spreading COVID-19, despite being considered an essential service.

“This is a time when people need to ensure that they are healthy and well-nourished. Our market supplies locals with the freshest, nutrient dense product available in the region direct from producer to consumer,” Ms Hennes said.

“We had three volunteers on site greeting people as they arrived at the Lancefield Park. They were directed to a handwash station at an entry gate with sanitiser available also.

“There they were spoken to about the social distancing rules and how the day was intended to run as a shopping event exclusively – rather than a social day.

“There was no seating provided and food was takeaway only as per the rules.

“We are an essential service and managed the market well on Saturday to accommodate many people wishing to keep their fresh produce supply stocked at home.”