By Laura Swanson, Editor
Under the Oregon Governor’s executive order, farmers markets are considered “essential businesses” and exempt from the shut-down, but there are challenges presented to operate the Manzanita Farmers Market safely for vendors and customers. The Manzanita Farmers Market had planned a series of “special events” including this Saturday May 9th “Mother’s Day” market which also presents an opportunity to “test-drive” this concept. The Market board and manager Emily Vollmer have carefully moved forward to offer a “drive-through”, pre-order event. “We believe an online, pre-order, drive-through farmers market is a low risk system to support local growers and provide our community access to healthy local foods,” said Emily Vollmer, Manzanita Farmers Market Manager.
She continued, “There have been a variety of resources and best practices put together by the Oregon Farmers Market Association as to how farmers markets can adjust their operations to minimize risk to the public of transmission of COVID-19. The Manzanita Farmers Market is actively monitoring and referring to strategies from other farmers markets who have already been operating with a pre-order, drive-through market scenarios; from these we are able to learn from other’s challenges and problem solving, including the finer details of how the Manzanita Farmers Market can best operate in a safe, efficient, and effective manner. “
The special May 9th “drive through Manzanita Farmers Market will feature food and farm products only – vendors with meat, vegetables, plant starts, flowers, and food products will be allowed to sell their products.
“This market supports the social fabric of the community while maintaining stay at home orders and social distancing,” explained Vollmer. “Financial support to farmers market vendor businesses supports our local economy, in addition to providing low-income food access with SNAP and SNAP match programs.”
Pre-Orders Only – go to www.manzanitafarmersmarket.com – Orders must be placed by Thursday May 7th at 11 pm.
Manzanita Farmers Market is using an online platform called Local Food Marketplace where customers can shop from multiple vendors from one user-friendly interface. Customers pay online as one purchase total even if their order includes products from more than one vendor.
The vendors pack orders for each customer, label orders with the customer’s name, and bring orders to the drive-through drop site. The vendors at the Manzanita Farmers Market May 9th will be: Kingfisher Farm (veggies); Lance’s Farm Vittles (frozen meat); Peace Crops (honey); Pacific Roots Coffee (roasted coffee beans); North Fork 53 (tea, veggies); Ixchel Originals (plant starts); Rising Tides Baking Co. (baked goods); Moon River Farm (veggies); and Celia’s Gourmet Foods (oils and vinegars).
Drive-through Market – Saturday May 9th
Customers will be assigned pick up times between 10 am and 2 pm to evenly distribute arrivals.
Customers will drive their vehicle through the City parking lot on 5th St. S in downtown Manzanita to have their purchases loaded into their vehicle. Customers will be asked to remain in their vehicles at all times. To reduce proximity and contact, the preferred loading method will be to have the customer pop open their trunk from within their vehicle to receive their pre-packaged order. Customers will be instructed to tape a piece of paper with their name to the inside of their car window so we can identify their order and load their vehicle without them even needing to roll down their window. The vendors and market staff on site will maintain physical distancing, wear appropriate masks and gloves, and there will be handwashing stations and hand sanitizer available.
Farmers and folks in our community are resilient and creative, and the Manzanita Farmers Market are providing a safe and effective way to get local products into the hands and homes of our community. And local foods are one of the best ways to stay healthy.
The Manzanita Farmers Market is planning its regular season with vendor direct sales, starting June 12th for the regular Friday weekly summer season, but the scenario for June and beyond is not yet confirmed.
Go online now through May 7th to place your orders at www.manzanitafarmersmarket.com. For questions or for more information email to firstname.lastname@example.org.