CHICAGO (CBS) — While so many businesses are closed some farmers are finding a way to get back to selling their food.
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A farmers’ market in Evanston is set to open in just over a week. Colorful images from years past show when the Evanston Farmers’ Market became a social destination, but no more.
“We will not be putting out tables and chairs for people to congregate,” said Myra Gorman. “We will not have music playing in our market until further notice. No sampling.
When it returns on May, masks will be required, each stall must have a hand washing station, entry will be limited and social distancing will be enforced. Also, there will be no touching the product. Vendors from a distance will ask for your order and place it in a bag.
“Their produce, in my eyes, is safer than going to a grocery store,” Gordon said. “There’s fewer hands touching the produce, and at our market the only people touching the produce and any of the products will be the vendors.”
“I know in Evanston they want us to keep a safe distance from the clientele,” said Todd Nichols, who runs Nichols Farm in Marengo. “For us it’s kind of survival.”
He said adapting how he sells his product is crucial. Farmer’s markets are a big part of his bottom line.
“That accounts for 50% of our revenue,” Nichols said.
“They are going to be very different,” said Melissa Flynn, who runs the popular Green City Market in Lincoln Park.
She is still waiting for word from the city on when she can reopen like Evanston. The market is making plans for online preorders and pickup stations.
“We are thinking there will be more order in advance and less of that community feeling unfortunately,” she said.
Evanston’s vendors are being asked to keep conversation to a minimum and respond online to question about suggested menus and home garden advice.
“Unfortunately they won’t be as social this year,” Nichols said.
Farmers argue that farmers’ markets are just as much a part of the food supply chain as grocery stores. In the city of Chicago that sponsor over several dozen farmers’ markets every year. They promise a decision in the weeks ahead about if and when they can open.