What Farmers Markets Will Look Like This Summer

Your weekly trip to the farmers market might look different this summer, even though COVID-19 protocols have loosened a bit. Here's what to expect.

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COVID-19 business signage
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You May Be Asked to Social Distance

Like most COVID-19 guidelines, social distancing requirements vary by state. Some farmers markets have completely done away with social distancing, and others are still encouraging a distance of six feet between customers. Look for chalk, tape or stickers marking where you should stand, and be courteous of vendor requirements.

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Woman shopping in the farmer's market during COVID-19 crisis.
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Food Handling Is Probably OK

Touching produce to test for firmness and freshness is part of the farmers market experience. But unfortunately during the 2020 season, your local farmers market might have had a “no touching by customers” rule in place. This year, it seems most vendors are allowing food handling and self-service, but it will vary by seller. Look for posted signs to see what the rules are at each booth.

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Close-up of a sign adhered on a small business commercial storefront window letting customers know in English that a protective face mask is required for entry.
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Face Coverings for Non-Vaccinated Customers

The CDC recommends wearing a mask in public places if you are not fully vaccinated. Farmers markets most likely won’t be checking your vaccination status, but signage will likely encourage you to wear a mask in crowded outdoor markets and indoor markets if you’re not fully vaccinated.

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Farmer's market selling fresh, home-grown fruit, cutting samples for shoppers to try.
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Food Samples Might Not Be Available

This summer, some states are allowing food samples at farmers markets, while others are not. In California, for example, food sampling and cooking demos are still on hiatus until further notice. But if you visit a farmers market in Washington, you can taste test to your heart’s content.

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Selective focus color image depicting a caucasian woman in her 30s wearing a protective surgical face mask during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, in a bid to stop the spread of the virus. The woman is pushing shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables in her local market. Room for copy space.
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Use of Cash Might Be Limited

The CDC still recommends using touchless payment (pay without touching money or a keypad). If you must use cash, use hand sanitizer right after paying. That means your farmers market might still be minimizing the use of cash at their stalls. Farmers markets in Pennsylvania are encouraging separate workers to handle products and money, or to wash hands or use a hand sanitizer between these tasks.

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COVID-19 Pandemic in Australia. Young woman working at home in isolation, in an Australian setting. Sunny afternoon, working in an isolated environment with her Laptop and iPhone.
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Hand Washing Stations

You can still expect to see hand washing stations and hand sanitizing stations at the farmers market this summer (these are the best hand sanitizers to buy right now). 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.

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African American woman wearing a protective mask while buying groceries at the market
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Practice Patience

Unfortunately, COVID-19 and the Delta variant continue to spread across the United States. Farmers markets are doing their best to conduct business in a way that will ensure the safety of their employees and the communities. As shoppers, we can help by practicing kindness and patience as we navigate these ongoing changes together.

Erica Young
Erica is a cleaning and home d├ęcor expert. She knows exactly how to tidy a filthy kitchen and straighten out a mixed-up pantry! When she's not writing you'll find her organizing a closet, buying more bins she doesn't need or bingeing her latest TV show obsession.