Health Director: Debut ‘Drive-Thru’ New Canaan Farmers Market a Success; Town To Consider Proposed Walk-Thru Model 

After a smooth New Canaan Farmers Market “drive-thru” model debut last weekend, town officials say they’ve green-lighted a larger pickup-only event for Saturday and will consider a restricted walk-thru system after May 20. Conceived as a way to hold the popular Farmers Market while observing guidelines to limit transmission of the COVID-19 virus, the 300-patron drive-thru model used an advanced registration system and “was very well-organized,” according to New Canaan Health Director Jennifer Eielson. 

“There were no issues, we did not have a single issue,” Eielson told 

“There were no traffic problems, either,” she added. 

The 300 slots for those seeking to order in advance and pick up locally grown fruits, vegetables, flowers, honey and other items from select vendors filled up quickly, and the approximately 530 slots approved for this coming Saturday’s second drive-thru also have been taken, officials said. Eielson said a proposed walk-thru model is to be approved by the Board of Selectmen and leaders in the New Canaan Emergency Operations Center. Asked what types of restrictions could be part of it, Eielson said a one-way flow of pedestrian traffic, standing markers on distancing so attendees know specifically where they can be in approaching vendors’ tables, hand-washing stations, masks and limitations on how many people could move through it simultaneously. 

Patricia Spugani, a New Canaan resident and longtime Farmers Market attendee who has volunteered this year to help steer those who organize the event through municipal approvals, said the proposed walk-thru model “will implement all social distancing guidelines that the state has required.”

“The state considers the Farmers Market to be an essential business and we consider it to be an open air grocery store,” she said. Customers visiting the vendors’ tables would maintain six feet of distance between themselves and those selling, and would not handle any of the goods, she said.

New Canaan Farmers Market To Open May 9 Under New Drive-Thru Pickup Model

The New Canaan Farmers Market will open May 9 under a new “drive-thru” model that requires those seeking fresh local food to register in advance for pickup, officials say. Launched around this time each spring, the popular Farmers Market will see shoppers purchasing produce and other items from a limited number of vendors in advance, and then scheduling their pickup times at the Center School Lot in preset intervals in order to avoid traffic congestion, according to New Canaan Director of Health Jennifer Eielson. No money will be exchanged at the market itself, she said. “This is an indicator that we are planning ahead for a reopening plan, and as part of that, you have to do incremental baby steps,” Eielson told “Part of getting back to normal this time year is the Farmers Market.

New Canaan Farmers Market

The New Canaan Farmers Market is celebrating its 20th season. The market will open on Saturday, April 27, 2019 and continue through Mid-December, pending weather conditions, from 10:00am to 2:00pm every Saturday, rain or shine. Nestled on the edge of downtown New Canaan, with a quick stroll to the market, one can easily see why it was voted “2005 Best Farmers Market of the Gold Coast” by the readers of the Moffly Publications local magazines and 2006 Best Farmers Market of Fairfield County by the readers of Fairfield County Weekly newspaper. From the scrumptious smell of a perfectly ripened peach to the ever-tantalizing tastings of the freshly-made pesto and tomato samples, it will be hard to resist such simply elegant cuisine.

Officials Consider Relocating New Canaan Farmers Market from Center School Lot

With an eye on giving downtown New Canaan businesses a boost, town officials say they’re thinking about shifting the popular Farmers Market to a more central location. The idea of hosting the Saturday market in one of the lots behind Town Hall had come up about six years ago, but the prospect of an extensive capital project there helped put it on hold, according to First Selectman Rob Mallozzi. With that project finished and signals from some local merchants that they’re interested, Mallozzi said he’s ready to reopen the conversation. “I like the idea of having the Farmers Market in town and I agree absolutely that any foot traffic we can derive from having it a couple of blocks closer to town is a good thing,” he said. With approval from the town, the Farmers Market is slated to open Saturday, April 22 in its longtime location—the Center School parking lot off Maple Street.