Farmers' market vendors adapt to COVID-19 changes
KITCHENER -- Farmers markets being closed are forcing vendors to come up with creative solutions to sell their products.
Usually markets would be ramping up for a busy season this time of year, but many have temporarily closed because of COVID-19.
Food producers, who rely heavily on markets to sell their crop, are now preparing for a very different start to the season.
Some vendors are moving sales online, while others are teaming up with surrounding farms and coming up with creative ways to get their goods out to the public.
Trevor Herrle-Braun is changing the layout of Herrle's Country Farm Market in order to find ways to allow customer to practice physical distancing inside the store
“Right now it's very bare inside. We're playing around with some of our displays,” says Herrle-Braun.
“Figuring out how we can social distance our staff from our customers. How many customers we figure we can allow in the market, is going to be a challenge for us in the coming weeks.”
The global pandemic is forcing the market to make changes.
“It's almost hard to comprehend. It's something we've never had to deal with before,” he says.
Herrle's Market says it’s important that customers are able to buy fresh produce during the pandemic and that's why the farm is coming up with solutions to keep the market open, including moving sales online and offering curbside pick-up.
“We're not sure how it's going to work. We know there's going to be a lot of snags and hiccups,” says Herrle-Braun.
While the store at Herrle's will be open, other farmers markets like St. Jacobs have temporarily shut down, leaving vendors to have to find alternate ways to sell their goods
“Anytime there's such a big change, it’s definitely a concern,” says Alex Chesney of Thames River Melons.
Thames River Melons says the majority of their sales are made during the market season, but with many markets closed, the farm had to find other ways to get their crops to customers.
“We decided to do a market box for the month of May,” says Chesney.
Teaming up with neighbouring farms, the market box will be filled with fresh produce, and delivered to customers homes.
“For us, were growing it, it is here. It's just the way we're transporting and connecting with our customers is going to be different this year,” says Chesney.
Saying pandemic or no pandemic, people will still be able to enjoy the local food season
St. Jacobs Farmers' Market & Flea Market has listed all of their vendors on their website, so people can still get in touch with the farms and purchase their products