Business, Features

Seaport Seasonal Farmers Market thrives through COVID-19 pandemic

Sales have thrived for vendors of the Seasonal Seaport Farmers Market in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. ALEXANDRA WIMLEY/ DFP FILE

Anyone looking for a fun, socially distanced outdoor activity this Saturday, should consider checking out the Seaport Seasonal Farmers Market. The market has not only kept running throughout the pandemic, but has also helped New England businesses continue to thrive.

Since June 6, the Seaport Seasonal Farmers Market has been held every Saturday and will be hosting its final market this Saturday. Located at 85 Northern Avenue, the market first debuted in the summer of 2018 and has been a constant crowd pleaser in the Seaport district.

Todd Noon, head chef at Bonez Brothers BBQ, is in his second year as a vendor at the market. His Quincy-based restaurant has a takeout-focused menu of Southern barbecue classics including ribs, brisket and meals made with alligator meat.

“Last year’s [market] was on Tuesdays and then they changed it this year to Saturdays,” Noon said. “People are out in the morning, they’re getting their exercise and having their coffee and usually by one o’clock, everybody’s starting to go home.”

Despite the change in scheduling for the market, Bonez Brothers BBQ’s sales have not taken a loss.

“I don’t think there’s a day we haven’t sold out at Seaport,” Noon said. “Seaport has been fabulous this year.”

Along with the revenue from the markets, Noon said his restaurant was fortunate enough to continue its regular sales, as it was originally designed to accommodate a takeout model.

“Our takeout business increased,” Noon said. “A lot of places went under and they didn’t have the luxury of just having takeout.”

This drop in business as a result of COVID-19 proved detrimental for many businesses, but Bonez Brothers BBQ found its own way to continue serving food to the people of Boston.

Farmer Dave’s, a farm north of Boston that grows a variety of fruits and vegetables, was a vendor at the Seaport Seasonal Farmers Market for the first time this year.

Husband-and-wife team David and Jane Dumaresq run Dave’s together, and had participated in other farmers markets before.

The pair said the structure of their business has changed despite maintaining the same practices. Their community-supported agriculture and home delivery services have increased “drastically,” Jane Dumaresq said.

“Our farmers market, which is the third aspect of our business, has decreased by about half,” Jane Dumaresq said. “We’re doing somewhere between 40- and 60-percent less than we normally do.”

David Dumaresq also said the farm has struggled this season not solely from COVID-19, but also because of how much the weather has been affecting growing production.

“It’s been a very challenging year producing the food. We had a very cold spring to start, so everything started off very slowly, and then June was a very good growing month,” David Dumaresq said. “And then, the lack of rain turned into a drought that continues today.”

This environmental struggle, unrelated to the pandemic, is one that all farmers face, David Dumaresq said, but can take a significant toll on their business.

The drop in revenue from the farmers markets and produce growth could harm many farming businesses, but because of home delivery, Farmer Dave’s has managed to keep selling.

No matter how uncertain the future looks, David Dumaresq said he encourages businesses to always be ready to adapt to new circumstances.

“Be open and flexible,” David Dumaresq said. “You never know what’s going to happen moving forward.”

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