Local Farmers, Farmers’ Markets Facing Uncertainty Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

Image via Alexandra Jones, Philadelphia Inquirer.

The spread of coronavirus is injecting uncertainty at the start of the growing season for local farmers, writes Alexandra Jones for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, farmers’ markets have issued a list of guidelines to its vendors, including frequent hand-washing, wearing gloves, staying home when sick, and a suspension of sampling.

The Phoenixville Farmers’ Market also decided to offer a public hand-washing station for customers and to make more room between tables to prevent crowding.

And while vendors are complying with the new guidelines, those who sell ready-to-eat foods, such as Sue Miller of Birchrun Hills Farm in Chester Springs, are worried that being unable to offer samples would hurt their sales.

“We really count on sampling to sell cheese to our customers, because it’s all about the flavor and the experience,” she said.

However, her fears have thus far proven to be unfounded, as business was up rather than down at farmers’ markets across the region this weekend.

“Phoenixville was crazy,” she said. “I could have sold more, and I brought a lot. It was great for our mental health.”

Read more in The Philadelphia Inquirer here.

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