Farmers markets return with changes

Published: Jun. 4, 2020 at 7:38 AM PDT
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Summer is just around the corner and that means the return of farmer's markets.

On Tuesday, the Sparks Methodist Church Market became the first one in our area to open. Walking through the parking lot as vendors set up ahead of shoppers, there was a buzz in the air.

"Everyone's really excited to have the opportunity to be here, and so I think the excitement is there," Lindsey Adams, manager of the market said.

Some of the staples are there- peaches, strawberries, vegetables, fresh eggs and even local honey are displayed on tables. But planning this year was a little more challenging in light of COVID-19.

"There was a lot more logistics that needed to happen," Adams said. "It wasn't just okay I have my map layout. I know kind of who my vendors are. It was a lot more thinking kind of Tetris-ing and puzzling things together."

Adams says she only had a third of her normal vendors available on the first day of the market. Only those selling essential items have set up their tents.

Adams said since Nevada moved to Phase Two she could have had a couple more vendors, but decided to keep it small for the first day of shopping so they could work out any problems.

Shoppers at the Sparks Methodist Church Market saw a few changes as they pulled in to pick their fresh produce. There is one entrance and exit to control the number of people shopping at one time and people are asked to use hand sanitizer as they come in.

There are marks on the ground spaced 6 feet apart, and as for those reusable bags many people bring in to carry their purchases? Vendors can’t touch them, and shoppers can’t touch the produce.

But there’s one change that affects one of the most popular aspects of a farmers market..

“There is no sampling,” Adams said. “So normally you would see a bunch of little cute kids out here. Try my peach or try my cherries. There will be no sampling.

“I guess if the worst thing that happens is we can't sample the produce we're doing okay,” said Ann Louhela with NevadaGrown.

NevadaGrown is a local non-profit that helps promote local agriculture. Louhela says with the changes in place, farmers have had to add more staff to their markets. But many, if not all, are willing to do whatever it takes to sell their produce.

“They've lost a lot of restaurant sales, the farms to sell to restaurants and stuff,” Louhela said. “So for me it's really important to get out and support these small businesses and buy directly from them because this can make or break their farm.”

And some of the shoppers agree with that sentiment. They’ll do whatever is needed to get fresh food.

“I just want to support local,” Kassi Humphreys said. “And so to me it's same experience just a little different with wearing a mask.”

More farmers markets are opening in the coming days, including the Carson Farmers Market and The Village Market in Reno. Both open on Saturday. To find a market near you,

Copyright KOLO-TV 2020