Vendors hope to rebound from pandemic woes as St. Paul Farmers Market reopens

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The St. Paul Farmers Market kicked off its summer season Saturday, and vendors who struggled during the pandemic are hoping it’s the start of the road to recovery.

"I love the passion and the food that I deliver. I’ve been doing it all my life," said Earl William, chef of Earl’s Barbeque.

William says the past year has been challenging due to 80% of his earning comes from the market.

"This is my bread and butter, and when you cut my legs off, that was terrible," William said.

More than 35 different vendors set up Saturday for the first weekend of the farmers market, hoping that this year will look a lot different from last. By the end of the summer, more than 80 different vendors are expected to be at the farmers market.

"Their livelihood depends on the income they make at the farmers market and other places they sell," said David Kotsonas, director of the St. Paul Farmer’s Market Association.

Kotsonas says that despite vendors being open last summer, they still took a hit.

"A lot of food producers and a lot of the vendors that you see at these markets, they’ve lost a lot of different events that they would have normally done last summer when things got canceled," Kotsonas said.

This year at the farmers market, COVID-19 precautions are still in place with buyers and vendors having to wear masks and all food being to-go only.