We know that many farmers market operators are trying to decide how to respond to COVID-19. VAFMA recommends that markets work with their local governments’ recommended course of action.

Farmers markets are essential to their communities — especially during times of uncertainty. We applaud FreshFarm’s well thought out response below.

We also recommend the advisory provided by the Farmers Market Coalition.

FRESHFARM is closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak as it continues to develop, and we want to provide you an update of the steps we are taking in response to the virus.

At this time, markets will remain open in accordance with their usual schedule.

Farmers Markets Are Essential: Our open-air markets are important and necessary food outlets for community members from all economic backgrounds across the DC metro area to purchase healthy, fresh, nutritious food.

Farmers Markets Allow You to Shop Direct: Shopping at our markets means that you can purchase fresh, nutritious food from as close to the source as possible.

Farmers Markets Support Our Region: Farmers markets are essential to the livelihood of farmers and food producers. Shopping at farmers markets means you are supporting your local economy, which is especially critical in this time of uncertainty.

There is no evidence that food is a source or transmission route for the virus. To keep our farmers, producers, and shoppers safe, we are encouraging the following actions at our markets:

  • Our farmers markets are vibrant community spaces where many shoppers gather to socialize in addition to purchasing groceries. However, for the time being we strongly encourage shoppers to prioritize your essential food purchasing and minimize social gatherings at the market as much as possible.
  • The COVID-19 virus is thought to be spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes and can be killed using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. If you are an at-risk population (particularly older adults or immunocompromised individuals) we encourage you to prioritize your own health and minimize your exposure to large groups of people. Consider asking a friend or family member to pick up your market items for you.
  • Recommended measures of defense against the virus are to wash your hands frequently (with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds), cover your mouth with a tissue or the crease of your elbow (not your hands) if you cough or sneeze, and avoid touching your face.
  • We encourage vendors and customers to take note if you are experiencing symptoms such as fever or dry cough, and to stay home to take care of yourself and protect others if you are sick.
  • Market managers will wipe down commonly used services, such as the market information table, EBT redemption devices (phones, card swipers), and have hand sanitizer available.
  • Vendors have been told to wear gloves and change them frequently.
  • Farmers and producers have been told to suspend sampling of products at the market and to restrict access to condiments, silverware, cup lids, etc. unless requested.

In the event of any changes in the schedule of our markets, we will be sure to update you with as much advance notice as possible. Please keep in mind that the situation is evolving rapidly, and we will continue to provide updates as we have them.

Our primary concern is the health and safety of our farmers and producers, market shoppers, and the community. We are taking guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the DC Department of Health as we shape our plan for market operations. The CDC has issued interim guidance for large public gatherings with useful steps, and the DC Department of Health has released a website where you can find the most updated information from the city. We appreciate your ongoing support of FRESHFARM!