Region's farmers' markets will look different
Farmers markets in the region will look different and operate in new ways to keep vendors and customers safe. Market managers are working with the Spokane Regional Health District on best practices.
Diane Reuter, who manages the Spokane Farmers' Market, said she has been driving in and out of the canyon where Tolstoy Farm is located so she can have cell phone connection to join in conference calls and figure out what other markets are doing.
"A friend in West Virginia said they are setting up six-foot distances with vegetable stencils to mark the spots," she said.
The Inland Northwest Farmers' Market Association received a $15,000 grant from Avista.
The Spokane Farmers' Market has used those funds to set up hand washing stations and hire extra people at the entrance and exit. The market will be roped off. People won't be able to wander freely.
They also have a $7,500 grant from the Spokane Farm Credit Bureau to buy cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, gloves and masks. They are on a waiting list from Dry Fly for hand sanitizer.
Diane said they are also asking if they can extend 10 feet further onto the open area to the east, which is an emergency hospital helicopter landing pad. That would give them more space between the rows of vendors.
"We are encouraging vendors to take pre-orders by phone or email, as we do at the pre-Thanksgiving market," she said.
A list of their 27 vendors and contact information is on their website, spokanefarmersmarket.org.
Along with providing cloth masks for vendors, they will have extra masks for customers who don't bring masks. The vendors can wear the masks one day and then wash and reuse them.
"Some things we will figure out as we go, such as whether two or three will be allowed to wait at a vendor," Diane said.
Vendors will keep tables wiped down and keep their hands washed or sanitized.
While there are some things she does not know about how things will work out, she does know that the farmers are having a good growing season and that when she announced the market would open on Saturday, May 9, she had emails from 400 customers excited they were opening.
Tolstoy Farm, an intentional community north of Davenport, was started in 1963 and has sold its produce locally for 35 years, first at a booth on the street, then at the Spokane Public Market, until other vendors began to buy their produce from markets rather than farms. They then relocated.
Tolstoy offers Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), which provides members a weekly supply of certified organic produce that they pick up at the market.
Diane has been at Tolstoy Farm 26 years. She was the face of their stand market for many years and has been market manager for eight years.
"I'll be there to give customers air hugs. My booth will be at the front, not the back, to take credit and debit cards and to have more control of crowds," she said.
The Spokane Farmers Market opens May 9 for Saturdays and June 15 on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., at E. Fifth Ave. and S. Browne.
For information, call 509-725-3276 or visit spokanefarmersmarket.org.
The Urban Eden Farm's Saturday Farmstand in Vinegar Flats opened the first Saturday of April. Jim Schrock, the owner, grew up farming south of Grand Coulee Dam. In addition to being a vendor at the Spokane Farmers' Market and offering CSA, they supply produce to restaurants. CSA is a partnership between farmers and customers whose $400 annual membership pays for seeds, water, equipment and labor throughout the season, while they share in the risk and bounty of the farm.
"We operate with one customer paying while the next is being served by farm stand staff, so customers do not touch the food and one person handles the payment," said Jim. "In the three hours we are open, we have not had crowds, just two people at the stand and six to eight in line.
"At the farmstand, we like that we eliminate many extra handlings of the produce. We harvest, wash and then hand it to the customer. It travels, maybe, a quarter of a mile to the stand, avoiding produce going through many hands with trucking, refrigeration, packing, unloading, stocking shelves and a store cashier."
Jim said that the workers have been learning the protocols, learning one new thing and finding three new things pop up.
Urban Eden Farm also uses volunteers who learn about growing, weeding, harvesting and washing vegetables and receive "workshares" of produce.
At the farmers' market and stand, they share produce left over with food banks.
For information, call 534-1638, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit urbanedenfarm.com.
The Emerson-Garfield Farmers' Market opens from 3 to 7 p.m., Friday, June 5 to run through Sept. 25, at the IEL Adult Education Center, 2310 N. Monroe. It features about 25 regional and local vendors, bringing fresh, affordable goods and locally grown produce, and serving as a "community hub."
It started in May 2013 through the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council with the support of Catholic Charities, Project Hope and Knox Presbyterian Church.
Market manager Taylor Phillips listed changes: service animals but no pets; no arts and crafts vendors; fewer farms, bakeries and prepared food vendors; no public tables or benches for seating; no extra children's activities; no sampling or eating onsite. They will follow guidelines being used by other members of the Inland Northwest Farmers' Market Association for safety of patrons and vendors.
He also suggested washing the food on returning home and sharing photos of the market with online reviews.
For information, call 255-3072 or email email@example.com.
The Fairwood Farmers' Market opens from 3 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 12 at 319 W. Hastings Rd. in the Fairwood District of North Spokane. It has 35 vendors listed on its website. For information, call 466-0682, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit fairwoodfarmersmarket.org.
The Hillyard Farmers' Market opens from 5 to 7 p.m., Mondays, beginning June 22, at 5102 N. Market St. For information, call 993-2104 or email brandyshine email@example.com.
Kendall Night Market will be open from 5 to 8 p.m., Wednesdays, at 1335 W. Summit Parkway, providing outdoor shopping in a farmers' market operating with COVID-19 sensitivity—no dogs or animals allowed, a limited number of farms and food vendors to allow for distanced booths and customer lines, and no music or activities, according to the website.
Vendors will set up on the north side of Summit Parkway to give more spacing. Shoppers, market staff, volunteers and vendors will be required to use hand-washing stations.
Vendors wearing gloves and masks will offer pre-bagged food and will pick up items. Customers may not touch food. Vendors clean surfaces once an hour. At booths, one person will handle money and another the food.
The market advises people to come with lists, limit attendance to one person per household, and purchase for friends and neighbors.
The Liberty Lake Farmers Market will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, June 6 to Oct. 10, at 1421 N. Meadowood Ln. It will observe Department of Health and Center for Disease Control protocols, opening late because of the social distancing order.
For information, call 290-3839 or visit libertylakefarmersmarket.com.
The Millwood Farmers' Market opens in mid-May in the parking lot of Millwood Presbyterian Church. For information, call 924-2350.
Gary and So Angell of Rocky Ridge Farm north of Reardan deliver CSA and Farm Store orders from 3 to 6 p.m., Thursdays, from March through November at 3204 E. 17th in Spokane. Membership is required for meat orders.
Orders are at rockyridgeranchspokane.com.
The South Perry Thursday Market will be open from 3 to 7 p.m., Thursdays, beginning May 7, at 924 S. Perry. It is in its 12th season. Its website lists 11 vendors. For information call 720-8449 or visit thursdaymarket.org.
The Spokane Valley Farmers' Market will be open from 5 to 8 p.m., Fridays from June 5 to Sept. 18, at the Spokane Valley CenterPlace parking lot, 2426 N. Discovery Pl.
For information, call 208-619-9916 or visit spokanevalleyfarmersmarket.org.
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, May, 2020