Eugene, Oregon – Starting this Saturday, May 16th, the farmers market will expand to cover an additional Park Block at 8th Avenue and Oak Street in downtown Eugene. Though the gradual and incremental reopening of business in Oregon has begun, the farmers market is continuing to make changes in response to the State’s social distancing mandate. The Lane County Farmers Market has been operating as an essential business during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing fresh food in downtown Eugene. Significant changes to market operations began March 21, when LCFM began working closely with the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon Farmers Market Association to develop strategies in response to new operating requirements.
To comply with social distancing requirements the farmers market has been operating with a new layout – an expanded footprint covering the west Park Block, and its usual area around the Butterfly parking lot. Vendor booths are spaced at least 10 feet apart, and about half the number of vendors that would normally be vending this time of year are at the market. This Saturday, the market will expand even more, covering the East Park Block as well, to accommodate increasing numbers of customers. Shoppers will find that many vendors are not in their usual spots, and are encouraged to check vendor locations with the staff at the Info Booth. In addition to changing the market layout, LCFM has implemented many other strategies designed to shift the farmers market culture from that of a social activity and community gathering place to strictly a grocery shopping trip. Shoppers should get their groceries and plant starts quickly and leave the market area once they’ve purchased what they need.
Tawnia Ross, LCFM Operations Manager says, “Open air and plenty of space to spread out do a lot in making the market a safe place to shop, but we need full cooperation from our customers to stay open and keep our community safe. We’ve seen increasing numbers of customers, many of them are families shopping together, and unfortunately the farmers market cannot be treated as a social or group activity right now. We strongly urge customers to send one person per household, and ask that folks not use the market area as a place to visit with friends.”
Current customer expectations include:
· Maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and other people.
· Shop quickly and do not linger in the market area after you have finished your shopping.
· Send only one member of your household when possible.
· Do not handle produce and food items that you are not buying.
· Do not consume food onsite.
· Stay home if you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with symptoms.
LCFM’s full safety plan is available at, https://www.lanecountyfarmersmarket.org/our-safety-plan
All forms of payment (cash, credit/debit cards, and LCFM tokens) are accepted. Credit/debit card use is preferred over cash when possible. SNAP/EBT cards are welcome and can be processed at the Info Booth.
Other ways to get local food:
Many local farms and small food businesses are offering online sales, delivery, or pickup options. A directory of farms and other vendors providing an alternate way to source local food can be found on the LCFM website, https://www.lanecountyfarmersmarket.org/directory
All products sold at the Lane County Farmers Market are either grown by Oregon farmers, or made in Oregon with a portion of locally grown ingredients. LCFM features 4 seasonal markets that run for 11 months of the year in Eugene.
For more information, visit www.LaneCountyFarmersMarket.org.