Welcome to your Pandemic Farmers Market!
First off—please know that our farmers market team is thinking of you, our dear community, and sending wishes for calm and health. These are uncertain and troubling times but we hope you are tucked in at home and finding some enjoyment in the great gift of time we’ve all been given. We hope you’re cooking, walking, reading, planning a garden, and focusing on strategies to boost your health.
Our individual and communal lives have jumped the track into new patterns so very quickly, and we all expect continued changes on the horizon. One thing that remains constant is that we all need to eat! Governor Walz and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture have been clear that farmers markets are essential services, similar to grocery stores and pharmacies, and can continue to operate as a source good, nutrient-dense food for the community. We’re tracking best practices from markets here in Minnesota and across the country and will work with Hennepin County Environmental Health to host socially distant, nutritionally proximate markets.
We have tested this “new way to farmers market” with small outdoor markets on April 16 and April 30. So far, so good! Warmest thanks to those of you who have shopped the market –you’re sustaining local farmers and food makers.
The market will be open each Thursday from 3-7 p.m., beginning May 14. We expect it to feel similar to AND different from our regular operations. Here are the measures we’re taking to keep our customers, vendors, and staff safe.
- Vendor booths will be spread apart to ensure plenty of room for shoppers to spread out.
- Expect one-way food traffic in the market. It’s like a big, colorful, yummy merry-go-round.
- Handwash stations will be available in multiple locations throughout the market. Please use them like crazy!
- Entry to the market may be metered if we have a large customer turnout. In that case, we’ll be grateful for your patience as we allow one customer in when another leaves.
- Forms of payment have not changed. You may still use cash at each vendor booth. Many also accept credit and debit cards. If you need more purchasing power, please visit Market Info to buy tokens, which operate just like cash throughout the market. SNAP and EBT are also welcomed! Use your nutrition support card to buy tokens at Market Info and receive a dollar-for-dollar match up to $10 each week.
- We have temporarily suspended all “extras.” There will be no Power of Produce Kids’ Club, no Frequent Shopper Rewards, and no live music. Don’t worry. They’ll all come back when the coast is clear.
Here’s what you can do to make the market a safer place:
- Stay home if you are not feeling well of if anyone in your family is ill.
- Arrive a little later. The market is busiest from 3-5 p.m. If you prefer a less-congested market experience, or if you would like to bring the whole family, please plan to shop after 5:00 p.m.
- Wash your hands when you enter and exit.
- Shop with your eyes! Point to your selections and allow the vendor to handle products.
- Please considering pre-ordering. Our vendors have rolled out a number of options for prepayment and contactless pickup at market. Pre-ordering is entirely optional but will help you move through the market faster.
- Designate one shopper from your household and send that one person to the market. This will cut down on crowding. Pro tip: Be sure to let your family request their favorite market goodies!
- Offer to shop for a neighbor!
In normal times, the market has a core mission with three parts: Providing a profitable marketplace for small-scale local farmers and food makers; providing the highest-quality healthy foods to area residents; and serving as a positive gathering place for the community. In these crazy times you can help us fulfill the first two, while we distance ourselves from the third. We love you, but–get in, get your goodies, and go home! This strategy will help us continue to host markets through the COVID-19 restrictions and ensure that our farmers make enough money to come back in future market years.
We’re so fortunate to have the advice and guidance of Hennepin County Environmental Health and Maple Grove Public Safety as we plan these events. We’re also following the example of markets across the country. We invite you to learn more by signing up for our e-newsletter and following the market on Facebook and Instagram. Detailed plans will also be posted on www.maplegrovefarmersmarket.com