Pre-Order Ideas & Options
The following guidelines were approved via e-mail by Commissioner Bronaugh and Secretary Ring of VDACS, who said “The additional measures to increase social distancing below sounds very reasonable, and we support that interpretation of VDACS’ most recent guidance.”
Our interpretation of this most recent guidance from VDACS is that we can continue to run all farmers markets in Virginia provided that we ensure strict social distancing procedures are met and encourage customers to pre-order online as much as possible. Markets will operate under normal times and locations starting this weekend, with enhanced social distancing safety protocols in place.
We will be taking additional measures to increase social distancing:
- Vendors, market managers, staff, and/or volunteers should wear face masks. Encourage customers to wear face masks as well.
- Market managers will adjust booth assignments to allow as much space for social distancing as possible.
- All vendors are to operate with minimal display, out of their vehicles if possible.
- All vendors must reorganize their space so that customers cannot enter their booth to touch or browse through products.
- Each vendor should display a menu of items for customers to order from. Share early and often on social media so customers can come prepared!
- Vendors must bag products for their customers. Items like produce should be pre-bagged whenever possible to reduce touchpoints. Reusable bags cannot be used at this time.
- Ideally, there should be one employee bagging produce and the other handling money. Gloves are available to use!
- Please continue to push customers to pre-order/pay for items to decrease the density of customers.
- Vendors should do all they can to reduce touchpoints at the point of sale. Turn off signature requirements, and allow customers to insert/swipe their own cards if possible. You could also manually enter the customer’s CC information to avoid touching all together. Please encourage customers to prepay online whenever feasible. Vendors must wipe down screens and card readers with disinfectant after each customer, and use hand sanitizer.
- We recommend that you no longer accept cash, and use touchless payment like Venmo if feasible.
- Market Managers will monitor customer density and restrict entry to the market as needed to ensure there is ample room for social distancing.
- We will be indicating the safe social distance space of 6 feet using painters tape in front of each booth.
- Only one customer can shop at a booth at a time. If a line forms please remind customers to leave 6 feet distance.
- Vendors can accept SNAP, but please keep coupons/tokens in a plastic bag (pleas date!), and turn them into your manager for reimbursement in two weeks’ time (or hold off until things calm down if feasible).
- No on-site food consumption or sampling is allowed! All prepared foods must be packaged to go.
For Markets with Limited Internet and/or Customers Who Prefer Cash:
- Marion Farmers Market allowed drive-up orders, but limited contact to one vendor who would take the order of items from the customer.
- Wear face masks
- Encourage phone pre-orders
- If accepting cash, wash and sanitize after each transaction
From Loudoun Valley Homegrown Markets Cooperative:
Idea 1 – Show customers who didn’t preorder a menu board of what’s available, they tell you what they want and farmer’s market volunteers/vendors personal shop for them. The folks who do preorder can go into the market and pick up what they preordered per the current guidance all while adhering to the “10 in the market at a time” guidance.
Idea 2 – Keep customers who didn’t preorder outside of where the market is held, they place their orders via an online system or the vendor’s online system, the vendors get the orders and fulfill them while at the market. This mirrors a drive-through window where a person places an order and then their order is fulfilled and handed to them.
From Lynchburg Community Market:
- All orders must be prebagged and ready for delivery Saturday morning
- All orders must be placed before vendor’s arrival at Market
- This means we cannot take any walk-in or call-in orders day of
- Ask for prepayment of orders
- This helps keep customers moving as quickly as we can
- If prepayment isn’t available vendors must wear single use gloves
- Deliver order, then take payment, then WASH YOUR HANDS
- Hours on Saturday are relaxed
- Invite your customers to pick up before 7 if possible/interested
- We have to put a hard limit on 10 pickup customers.
- If all 10 spaces are full, we will ask customers to circle back
- Please try to stagger customer pickups if they’re asking about pickup times
- Customer procedure
- Staff checks who customer has order with and directs them to parking space
- Staff can run orders – only if prepaid – staff cannot handle money
- Follow above procedure for delivering pickup
- If customer is paying with SNAP let us know! Our SNAP terminal is mobile
Distilleries Making Hand Sanitizer
Some distilleries have adjusted production to aid in supplying the population with hand sanitizer.
In Virginia, this includes Belmont Farm Distillery, Catoctin Creek in Loudoun, Virginia Distillery in Lovingston, Reservoir in Richmond, Three Crosses Distillery in Powhatan, and Chesapeake Bay Distillery in VA Beach.
Click the button to view an article listing distilleries around the world.
Communicating with customers is crucial at this time. Here are some examples of newsletters markets have sent out to give instructions on pre-orders and market guidelines.
City Market in Charlottesville (click to view)
Forest Farmer’s Market (click to view)
There are many online platforms available to markets and vendors for pre-ordering and online ordering. These are the ones shared with us:
Lulu’s Local Food ,What’s Good, Local Line, Harvie , Food4All., SquareSpace, LocallyGrown
If you have had a positive experience with another platform, please let us know.
US Treasury: Paycheck Protection Program
Dr. Theresa Nartea of VSU made these cute social distancing signs for farmers markets to use.
is offering a special discount to VAFMA members for signage for their markets. RouteArrows were originally designed for marking routes for cycling and running events, but their arrow stickers can also help farmers markets keep everyone safe during this challenging time.
Please use code STAYSAFE25 to get 25% off your order.
SeriousEats.com Food Safety Guide: