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Local Farmers Markets Making the Best of It

BY DEBRA J. MORRIS

The Martinez Farmers Market on Sunday mornings is still going strong through this tough time, offering some of the best fruits and vegetables and other foods to you directly from the farm. We are pleased to announce that now the first hour of the market, 9AM to 10AM, is to serve seniors and those most at risk during the shelter-in-place order.  We believe that everyone should have access to produce grown by local farmers and ask that our shoppers respect this special hour so that others may shop the farmers market.

A vendor wearing PPE watches over a stand of fresh organic strawberries last weekend.

 

As local farmers markets slowly return, the asparagus continues to grow, sweet cherries await harvesting, and lettuce and carrots shine. Local farmers continue to plant, nurture, and harvest their produce. Farmers need your support so they can continue growing and selling their fruits and vegetables directly from the farm to you.

Farmers livelihoods depend on your purchases. Farmers markets have been designated an essential business during the coronavirus pandemic, though fewer farmers markets are open and farmers have had to improvise on how to sell their products. Some farmers have opened farm stands, some are offering CSA boxes, while others are kind enough to donate some of their produce to those in need. If you’ll notice at your local grocery store, the industrial food system is not working and there is not a lot of fresh produce available on the shelves.

The folks at Great Valley Poultry say, “The hens still lay eggs and we need to sell them, so we come to as many markets as we can, but now we also have a place for people to purchase them at the farm.”

Many farms are finding the value in agritourism with farm stands and family activities at their farms, as many other farms continue to participate at farmers markets to sell directly to customers.

When you purchase from a farmers market, you not only get the freshest possible produce, you are also supporting local farmers who depend on selling their produce directly to customers. Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association (PCFMA) and your local farmers wish to thank you, the local community and market customers, for your continued support.

When visiting your local farmers market this season, look for the arrival of sweet cherries in May. Asparagus is still available. Spring artichokes, green onions, fava beans, and peas are here. So please visit your local farmer and find some of the freshest seasonal produce available, direct from the fields to you !

We are pleased that farmers markets are here as fresh and local food sources and hope you visit each week. PCFMA is committed to creating a safe environment at each farmers market and have implemented changes to their operation. There is no sampling or handling of products, social distancing is observed, new booth configurations allow for easier distancing, and more safety measures have been enacted. Before you visit the farmers market, please become familiar with our Customer Safety Guidelines which you can find at pcfma.org/pcfma-coronavirus.

We hope you remain safe and healthy during this difficult time. Keep updated on any changes to our farmers market schedules through the market Facebook pages and email newsletter. Please visit pcfma.org to find current market information or to sign up for our monthly email newsletters.

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