During our shelter-in-place ordinance, you may be thrilled to know that farmers markets will remain open as an essential service, providing a bounty of local foods to community members.
However, we must remember to do out part to keep our markets as safe as possible, so here are some tips and ideas to keep yourself and your fellow market goers and growers safe this summer!
Be smart. If you are sick, please stay home. Have a family member visit for you and perhaps shop for multiple households at once. Email or phone markets to see if they offer shopping or pick up services.
A boyscout’s motto: Be Prepared! Arrive with a set list of what you need. While perusing the market has been a mornings worth of conversation and socialization in the past, things will be different this year. Knowing what you need to buy will help you get in and get out of the market quickly, and help our farmers keep lines moving smoothly.
Be the Early Bird. Show up early to avoid the crowds, and try to limit your visit to 30 minutes or less. Many farmers will have items pre-bagged for you to grab and go.
Don’t crowd! As we have been, even at market, we need to maintain a social distance of six feet. Look for signage and where lines start, to keep order. Galen Klisieiwcz manager of the Eau Claire Farmers Market’s and says that in order to keep vendors safe, they will place a market booth in between each vendor, so there will be separation of at least 10 feet between farmers!
Please don’t touch the merchandise! For safety, foods will be pre-bagged or the vendor will bag for you. To maintain health, there will be no sorting through sweet corn to find the one you like this year. You’ll just have to trust the farmer that all the produce will be delicious. Also, upon arriving home, you should wash all produce before storing or eating.
Wash up! Markets markets will provide on site washing stations, so when you arrive or are leaving you will be able to utilize this safety precaution.
Limit the exchange of money. When possible, use exact change, credit card, or contactless payments such as ipad or iphone swiping systems. Ask if your market vendors accept mobile wallets and tap-to-pay credit cards. The fewer things we hand back and forth, the better for all!
Be patient, flexible, and kind. This is a stressful time, but we’re all in this together! As The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) states, “Farmers markets are places of nourishment and care, and we believe in the power of community resilience to carry us through.”