What Farmers Markets Will Look Like This Summer
Due to COVID-19, your weekly trip to the farmers market might look a little different this summer. Here's what to expect.
Social distancing in line
Just like at the grocery store, farmers markets will be encouraging social distancing of six feet between customers while waiting in line for produce. Expect to see marks on the ground with chalk, tape, or stickers to show where you should stand. If you’d rather go to the grocery store, this one just ranked #1 for COVID-19 safety measures.
Limits on shoppers
Most farmers market vendors will have a limit on how many people can peruse their stall at the same time. Be prepared to wait a little longer than usual to browse your favorite products. Luckily, fresh fruits and vegetables are worth the extra effort!
Touching produce to test for firmness and freshness is part of the farmers market experience. But unfortunately, your local farmers market might have a new “no touching by customers” rule in place. To avoid spreading the virus, only vendors can touch their own products; your choices will be bagged and handed to you. Here’s how to avoid germs when grocery shopping.
Required face covering
According to the CDC, wearing a face covering to stop the spread of COVID-19 is a good practice no matter where you live. But depending on your state, you might actually be required to wear a face covering while in public, including at the farmers market.
If touching the fruits and vegetables is not permitted, sampling will be off-limits as well. For the time being, most farmers markets are suspending sampling of their products; you’ll have your first taste test at home. Here’s the answer to the question, “should you be disinfecting your groceries?”
No on-site dining
Farmers markets are usually filled with food trucks and other on-site dining for a quick bite to eat during your day of shopping. Although some eateries might still be open, expect changes. Tables and chairs will most likely be eliminated, and prepared foods will be in covered containers, ready for takeout.
Limiting use of cash
The CDC recommends retailers use touchless payment whenever possible—which means your farmers market will probably be minimizing the use of cash at their stalls. Vendors will ask you to pay with a debit or credit card, inserted into a mobile payment device. This is what could happen if you don’t wash your produce.
Hand washing stations
Expect to see more hand washing stations or hand sanitizing stations at the farmers market this summer. A hand washing station might be a simple set-up of a five-gallon spigot cooler, along with soap and paper towels. Both vendors and customers should be cleaning their hands regularly.
Wider market aisles
Farmers markets will be adjusting their layouts this summer to encourage social distancing. You might see more space between tents, arrows, or signage to direct customers in one direction, and clearly marked entrances and exits. Avoiding bottlenecks and clusters of shoppers will be a big priority.
Quicker shopping trips
As much as we love a leisurely stroll at the farmers market, it’s not a good practice right now. Farmers markets will be encouraging quick and efficient shopping tips. There won’t be a lot of lingering, and some vendors are even offering preorder options so you can get in and out as fast as possible. Now, read about what libraries (and bookstores) will look like when they reopen.
For more on this developing situation, including how life might be different post-lockdown, see our comprehensive Coronavirus Guide.