Tips for shopping at farmers markets safely

Here are some tips to protect you while enjoying fresh produce and helping to support farms and farmers in your community.

Fruit and vegetables on a table

The atmosphere of shopping at farmers markets during this time of social distancing may be a little different. Previously, farmers markets have been a place to gather and meet with friends. Due to the new environment, we need to be more aware of the changes that must be in place. However, we do not want to forget the many wonderful reasons to visit the farmers markets, including the great health benefits of purchasing fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables.

The following are some tips to protect you while enjoying fresh produce and helping to support farms and farmers in your community. For specific guidance for market managers and venders, visit Purdue University Extension’s guide for farmers’ markets and navigating COVID-19.

  • Call ahead or check your local farmers market’s websites for hours and availability.
  • Check if your local farmers market has pre-orders or drive-thru pick-up.
  • Let farmer’s serve you at their stands.
  • Do not touch or sample any food you are not buying.
  • To reduce the number of people, only have one person from your household shop at the market.
  • If possible, go to the market when it is less crowded.
  • Maintain your social distancing from other shoppers, vendors and staff.
  • Do not crowd any vendor booth.
  • Stay home if you are feeling sick or were in contact with someone that was sick.
  • Use exact change or a credit card to minimize contact from consumer to vendor.

The recommendations for shopping at your local farmers markets are similar to the guidance from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for shopping at the grocery store. Keep at least 6 feet from other shoppers, wear a mask, do not touch your face and wash your hands.

Once home, rinse your fresh fruits and vegetables with cool, running water for 20 seconds, scrubbing hard skinned produce with a clean vegetable brush. Wash your hands and clean and sanitize surfaces that unwashed produce and food touched.

If you have questions related to food handling, preparing and storage, you can browse the Michigan State University Extension Safe food and Water website, Ask an Expert or call the MSU Extension Consumer Food Safety Hotline at 877-643-9882.

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