NASHVILLE — Farmers markets are opening across Tennessee and offering fresh, local food. Whether you’re looking for meat, produce or artisan products, a farmers market near you provides easy access to local, quality products. Shopping at farmers markets also serves as one of the best ways to keep your money in your community.
“If you are looking for the freshest fruits and vegetables, a visit to a farmers market is where you’ll find that and more,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “Shopping at your local market not only means you’ll have the best produce and the broadest selection it means you are supporting local businesses.”
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tennessee markets are taking additional measures to safeguard the health of vendors and customers. Some farmers markets offer drive through and pre-order purchasing.
“In an effort to continue serving our community safely during the pandemic, Nourish Knoxville has adapted our market operations to ensure our community receives the groceries they need in a safe manner,” market manager Ellie Moore said. “Modifications to our downtown market include a change in location, hours, vendor positioning and the implementation of additional precautions.”
Some markets are offering free face coverings for shoppers. Portland Farmers Market manager Michelle Harbin reports that market attendees can pick up a face mask, sanitize their hands and grab a bottle of water in one tent and all at no charge. Markers are placed six feet apart at each vendor to note safe distancing.
Food hasnotbeen identified as a likely source of COVID-19, however it is always important to follow good practices to ensure proper food handling and safety. Those who manufacture, sell and purchase food should take steps to prevent the spread of illness. Shoppers should only touch what they plan to purchase, and markets should supply hand washing stations or sanitizer.
“We have made adjustments for our market so that health, safety and social distancing can be maintained,” Grand Junction Farmers Market manager Lori Rice said. “There is now more space between each vendor. We are also providing the option to set up outside to help reduce risk of spreading the coronavirus.”
With more than 160 active farmers markets listed on Pick Tennessee’s website and mobile app, it is easy to find a safe source of local, fresh food near you.
Go to www.PickTNProducts.org or use the free Pick Tennessee mobile app to find farmers markets, farms, and food businesses near you. Follow @PickTNProducts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for posts featuring program members offering products and services safely during the COVID-19 pandemic through the #DoYourPartWithPickTN campaign.