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Wilkes-Barre farmers market returns with some changes

Farmers market season is here and Thursday marked the first day of the season in Wilkes-Barre.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Farmers and friends reunited for the first time in months as the 2020 Farmers Market in the city of Wilkes-Barre.

"Very thankful," said Ray Zimmerman of Zimmerman Farms. "The city is a great place to set up, we have wonderful weather for today. It's just good to be back. People can get fresh fruits and vegetables."

The farmers market on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre will look a little different this season compared to other seasons. A walkway normally filled with vendors can't be there because of COVID-19 safety concerns.

"In the past, there was food vendors. I can see they can no longer participate in this event and some arts and crafts vendors aren't here as well, so I think they'll be missed," Bill Flanley said.

The city plans to reevaluate the addition of those vendors to the market as the COVID crisis dwindles.

"I would have liked a little bigger crowd here, but people may be a little tentative still. Don't forget, we've really just gone back into the green recently," said Larry O'Malia from O'Malia's Greenhouse & Farm.

Some farmers said the late snowfall in May had a much bigger impact on their crop than the COVID-19 crisis.

"It could have been a disaster, but it turned out rather well for us," O'Malia said, adding that people staying home and spending time in their backyards helped his business.

"Compared to last May, our business did an increase of about 25%. To do that in this day in age, that is a small miracle in itself,"

He and other vendors are very thankful for the good fortune during a pandemic.

"Thankfully, we weathered the storm, and hopefully, the storm is soon over," Zimmerman said.

The Farmers Market will continue Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Public Square.