The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets today reminded New York consumers that many of New York State’s indoor farmers’ markets are open this winter season, with markets following New York State guidance for operating safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. A list of markets operating during the winter months can be found here.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Our farmers’ markets are an easy and meaningful way for consumers to continue to support local farmers, all year long. Markets that have moved indoors for the winter are continuing to follow Department guidance to ensure both vendors and customers are safe and socially distanced. I encourage everyone to shop local and visit the farmers’ market closest to them this winter to get everything from vegetables, eggs, and dairy products to maple and honey.”
Diane Eggert, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Federation of New York, said, “New York’s farmers market managers have stepped up to create safe venues to shop for an amazing abundance of local foods—from fruits and vegetables to meats and beverages and everything in-between— to grace our family tables with nutritious, healthy, and tasty foods. We encourage everyone to stop in at their local farmers markets and support New York’s agricultural producers and experience the bounty and flavors of New York’s farmers.”
New York’s farmers’ markets were designated as essential operations early in the pandemic. The Department issued guidance to help market managers and farmers welcome visitors safely. Requirements include:
- assuring that all market visitors wear masks;
- spacing out vendors as much as possible;
- minimizing the food customers may directly access;
- increasing the number of handwashing stations and making hand sanitizer, containing at least 60% alcohol, available to vendors and customers; and
- managing customer traffic within the market to promote social distancing.
There are also specific requirements for vendors, including frequently cleaning and sanitizing surfaces; limiting the number of customers at each table; and prepackaging raw agricultural products, such as apples, potatoes, and onions. The complete guidance, which applies to winter markets as well, can be found here.
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has issued a full slate of guidelines for the agricultural industry, in addition to the guidance for farmers' markets, including for its farms, food and beverage producers, and animal care operations. All guidance can be found at https://agriculture.ny.gov/coronavirus.