17 things to expect when visiting a farmers market

A summer staple, farmers markets across the tri-state area have reopened. Markets are considered an essential business in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.

In order to follow state and local government ordinances, many markets implemented new rules. Here are some things you can expect when visiting a farmers market:

1. All markets require both vendors and shoppers to wear masks or cloth coverings that cover the nose and mouth. Vendors are also required to wear gloves.

2. Many markets have changed to larger locations to promote social distancing. Vendors are also spread farther apart.

3. Typical hours have also changed, with many either changing times/days altogether, or shortening their hours.

4. Some markets also have one-way traffic, and only one entrance and one exit.

5. Many markets are controlling foot traffic flow and limiting the amount of people at any given time. Some are encouraging pre-orders, pre-paid orders and pick-ups. At the Bronxville Farmers Market, all shoppers must sign up for a shopping slot, with the first two time slots being reserved for shoppers who are over 65 and/or whose immune system is compromised.

6. Many individual vendors will also accept pre-orders, but you may have to contact them directly, not the market. At the Rockville Centre Farmers Market all vendors accept pre-orders, and the market lists all their phone numbers on their website. 

7. Some markets are only operating as pre-order and pick-up markets. You’ll need to check with your market when you can pre-order and when/where to pick-up, as days/times and locations may have changed.
8. Attend the market by yourself. Markets are discouraging socializing. John Jay Homestead Farmers Market, for example, is only allowing one person per family to register and attend. However if there is a special circumstance you can contact organizers to register two people. Other places, like the Pleasantville Farmers Market, asks couples to split up shopping duties.

9. Some markets ask that you leave your children home. And if you can, to shop for older, or immunocompromised family members.

10. Dogs are also not allowed in many of the markets - so if you’re used to taking your pooch shopping with you, check with the market first. Service animals are the exception.

11. One person per vendor. Do not spend an excessive amount of time near the booth or table, so everyone can get their turn. Practice social distancing while waiting in line for your turn.

12. Allow vendors to serve you, do not touch the products.

13. Many of the products will now be pre-packaged.

14. No sampling! Some markets are also not allowing patrons to eat on-site. At the New Canaan Farmers Market, for example, food can be prepared on-site, but only available to go. Those vendors will be located at the end of the walk-through line.

15. To minimize the use of cash, most vendors offer prepaid options. Most are also accepting credit card and Venmo payments.

16. Some markets are asking for patrons to bring single-use bags to help stop the spread of the virus. Others are still encouraging everyone to use reusable bags. Check with your location for their preference.

17. Services that are usually offered at some places may be temporarily canceled or not offered anymore. In NYC some markets do not offer food scrap and clothing collections. If you want to learn how to compost, here are some tips. 

Please note that these rules are subject to change as states and towns change their reopening rules. Check with your market for more information before you go.