Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today reminded Pennsylvanians that with spring and warm weather comes farmers market season in the commonwealth. Farmers markets, like grocery stores, offer life-sustaining food and essentials and have been provided guidance from the department for how to continue operations safely and with minimal risk amid the COVID-19 public health crisis.
When Governor Tom Wolf first designated agriculture and the supply chain as life sustaining, tthe Department of Agriculture issued guidance for Farmers Markets and On-Farm Markets with recommendations on how to continue operations safely and minimize contact for shoppers and employees. The guidance includes:
- Offer delivery or pick up options and online or phone ordering if possible.
- Pre-package bags of fruit, vegetables, and other items to limit shoppers’ handling food and keep customers moving quickly.
- Offer designated times for high-risk and elderly persons to shop at least once a week.
- Communicate with consumers via website or social media to explain changes, delivery options, or other extra precautions to mitigate against COVID-19.
- Separate stands to limit crowds and consider limiting the number of customers in the market at one time.
- If possible, have a different person handle products and handle money, or wash hands and sanitize between tasks.
- Remove tablecloths and eliminate samples and eating areas.
Pennsylvanians interested in supporting local can find a market by visiting pafarm.com or by looking for the PA Preferred® logo when shopping in a grocery store for a guarantee that you’re supporting a Pennsylvania farmer.