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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.