This is the time of year that so many people look forward to... Farmers Market season.  The time when you can get some delicious fresh veggies, flowers, and other products that would otherwise not necessarily be available.

But what about Farmer's Markets during the COVID-19 pandemic?  Can these still happen?

The short answer is yes... but with certain restrictions.  This is from the Minnesota Farmer's Market Association website:.

These are extraordinary times in 2020 as our farmers’ markets continue to provide food to our communities during this pandemic. This document provides suggestions for markets and vendors to implement in order to stay open to comply with Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-04 that closed restaurants, bars, and other businesses where people gather. Farmers’ markets are exempt from this order as long as we don’t offer onsite food consumption (including food sampling). We are also encouraged to do drive thrus, follow 6-feet social distancing, and promote hand-washing.

Additionally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is waiving the requirement for markets to buy a food license on a discretionary basis if the reason the modifications were made to the market is to comply with Executive Order 20-04.  Once the COVID-19 crisis passes and a market chooses to continue operational activities in the same way that would require a license, the market will have to buy a license.

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So, the good news is that we can still enjoy the fruits of the area farmer's markets.  But use common sense, take precautions, and take advantage of a drive thru where available.  There will be no sampling... and probably a good idea to just eye up what you plan to purchase.  Don't touch a bunch of produce before you buy.  And also- wash your produce when you get home.

This Summer's activities are going to seem a bit different this year, but we will make it through.