BY DEBRA J. MORRIS
Amid the continuing safety concerns due to the coronavirus pandemic, some Bay Area farmers markets have closed, but there are many that remain open because they are considered essential businesses.
Customers and farmers alike depend on direct-to-consumer fresh quality produce and other market products to feed their families. Knowing where their food comes from and supporting local farmers is an important part of why consumers shop local farmers markets each and every week. It is vital to food access for consumers and the livelihoods of farmers.
It is also a good alternative to the grocery store at this time of because farmers markets have the quality and quantity of product, while supermarkets sometimes do not have the stock available. You know farmers markets have great quality and freshness and they offer a wider variety of product from which to choose. Farmers market products are also handled by fewer people – from the farmer to you. A farmers market environment can feel safer to people as well. As there are no small aisles and crowded check-out lines making social distancing easier.
Our shoppers on food assistance also depend on farmers markets to purchase fresh quality produce each week using their CalFresh/SNAP benefits, especially with the Market Match program which doubles the amount they can spend on healthy foods.
While you’re shopping the farmers market, we want you to feel as safe as possible by providing as many safety precautions at the market as we can. But we also need your help in this endeavor and ask that you follow some safety guidelines to help everyone in creating a social distancing friendly environment.
As farmers market operators we will do our best to provide a comfortable and safe shopping experience:
- Eliminated food sampling of any kind.
- Farmers are encouraged to provide grab-and-go, pre-packaged produce so your purchases are easier to make.
- Also, the farmers and producers have been informed on best practices of booth set-up to allow space between customers. The market managers are chalking the booth areas to reflect the 6-foot personal safety distance
- We have added space between the booths, 10 feet wherever possible, and have reconfigured them so there is easier access and departure.
- There will be hand washing stations and hand sanitizer for customers whenever possible.
- There are no longer any information booths so we can avoid people lingering. We want you to safely shop and then leave with your purchases.
Practicing social distancing takes everyone to participate for it to be effective. We need your help ! Follow these simple code of conduct at to help ensure the farmers’ market are a safe are to shop:
- When you get home, be sure to thoroughly wash all fresh fruits and vegetables.
- At the market, practice social distancing by maintaining 6 feet of space for other shoppers and allow others their space when shopping.
- Minimize the size of your groups when shopping – remember spacing !
- Wait outside the booth until it is free of other shoppers, then take your turn.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often for at least 20 secs.
- Buy pre-bagged items whenever you can – farmers are preparing them ahead for you.
- Wash your reusable produce bags between visits.
- If you are sick, stay home and ask a friend or family member to pick things up for you instead.
- Please, only touch fruit/veggies that you intend to buy or have the farmer pick out your produce for you.
We will keep you updated on any changes to our farmers market schedules through the market Facebook pages and email newsletter. You can visit pcfma.org to find current market information as well.
Please visit your local farmers market for your fresh produce needs but help us keep everyone healthy by remembering social distancing. Thank you for your support.