STERLING – The Twin City Farmers Market has a new look, which it will be showing when it opens Saturday for outdoor sales.
The City Council last year approved a project to expand the farmers market to add an outdoor venue during the summer, and more parking.
The $951,418 project was spurred on by a $400,000 contribution from Sterling Today.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the market has been closed lately, but Sterling Main Street announced on Tuesday that it has a green light from the Whiteside County Health Department to open up the outdoor pavilion at 8 a.m. Saturday.
"We're hoping to be able to use it in the next few weeks to at least bring back our food, our meat and produce vendors," said Janna Groharing, executive director of Sterling Main Street.
Even when folks couldn't come to the market, they still were able to connect with some of the vendors, who still take orders for pick-up.
"I have to get back with each of [the vendors] about what the health department is going to require of us to do it, but I know some are anxious to get back to the market atmosphere on Saturdays," Groharing said.
There will be some new procedures in place once the market reopens, from new signs to having more sanitizer on hand to having customers point to an item they want instead of picking up several of them to find one that's perfect.
Groharing wants to get things moving soon, and she knows this is a prime season for many of the vendors who usually are out in full force at the market.
"I know spring produce is coming up ... I know meat and egg vendors have been super busy at their home farms," she said. "We have one vendor, Sterling Gardens, that has vegetable plants, so she's got garden starters for tomatoes and peppers, so she's very anxious to get that back as planting season begins. And then we've got a lot of bakers, and I know people have been missing Bakers Union and their cinnamon rolls."
Twin City Farmers Market is at 106 Avenue A. Go to twincityfarmersmarket.com or find it on Facebook to learn more.