During the upcoming shelter-in-place period, it appears that, like grocery stores, most or all the Bay Area's farmers' markets will keep running on their usual schedules in San Francisco and elsewhere, albeit with some extra protocols in place.
CUESA, the organization that runs the Ferry Plaza farmers' market, posted a note Friday to reassure people that the Ferry Building market would operate on a normal schedule on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. "We will keep our farmers markets open unless otherwise directed by officials, and we encourage everyone to stay healthy, stock up on fresh food and pantry items, and support your local farmers. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to keep our immune systems strong when we need it most." They do note on their website that they have suspended all product sampling and will be providing pop-up hand-washing stations — and on Twitter today the organization reassured everyone that this is still the case.
As SF enacts new measures requiring residents to stay in place, rest assured, FARMERS MARKETS WILL REMAIN OPEN as an essential business, vital to community food security. Our market is open Tues, Thurs, and Sat. Read the full statement from @LondonBreed:https://t.co/spOvh7L9VV— CUESA (@CUESA) March 16, 2020
Heart of the City Farmers' Market, which operates at United Nations Plaza in Civic Center on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, also assures everyone Monday that it is staying open as an essential service "until further notice."
"Heart of the City Farmers’ Market understands the critical role it plays to provide food access for a vulnerable low-income urban food desert that lacks a supermarket," the market writes. "Too many low-income customers cannot afford produce in a City with the highest cost of living in the nation without our food access programs." And they tell customers that "EBT will be accepted and Market Match incentive dollars distributed for fruit and vegetables" and "vouchers will be accepted for WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, EatSF, Vouchers 4 Veggies, CHIVES, VeggieRx programs. Heart of the City Farmers’ Market’s $5 vouchers are also accepted."
Additionally, the Agricultural Institute of Marin, which operates farmers' markets on Clement Street and near Stonestown Galleria (both on Sunday mornings), as well as five other locations in Marin County and the East Bay, says it will continue operating as usual. They're also telling producers to "limit or avoid" product sampling, and "Wipe down signs, frequently touched displays, and Square/Apple Pay terminals at your booths."
Specific announcements have not yet appeared about the city-run Alemany Farmers' Market, the Castro farmers' market, or others, however the city's announcement about the shelter-in-place order does list farmers' markets, food banks, and convenience stores all as staying open along with grocery stores and pharmacies.
Markets like the Saturday one at Ferry Plaza are especially crowded in a normal week, and people are going to be in an especially desperate mentality this week, so please exercise caution and maintain social distance — and don't hoard!
Photo by Mercedes Mehling on Unsplash