How to Shop the Farmers’ Market During COVID-19

The team at Texas Farmers’ Market is working diligently to keep our markets open and safe for our customers, vendors, and operations crew. While we love that our markets are built on a central core of conversation, gathering and community, it is critical that our markets be a food access point right now and not a space for socializing.

We have developed these dozen tips to help make your trip to the farmers’ market as safe as possible in order to protect you, our vendors and our staff. We can only keep the markets safely open if our shoppers help us by following these new guidelines. Thank you for doing your part to protect yourself and your community, while supporting the local farmers, ranchers and small businesses who are on the frontlines working hard to feed us.

1/ Be healthy and safe. All shoppers are required to wear a face mask when they enter the market grounds. Do not visit the farmers’ market if you are feeling unwell. We also encourage shoppers that are high risk, including individuals who are over 65 and/or with underlying health conditions, to stay home. If you can, just send one member of your household or one friend to shop for a group of people.

2/ Pre-order and plan when you can! In order to make your trip as fast as possible, we ask that you make a shopping plan before you arrive and pre-purchase as many things as possible. Click here for Lakeline vendors taking pre-orders. Click here for Mueller vendors taking pre-orders. Click here to see our market layouts (updated every Friday) for the coming weekend. Come with a shopping list in hand and know what you need. This helps us keep crowds down and lines moving smoothly.

3/ Shop quickly and efficiently. We ask that you make your trip to the market as quickly as possible, 30 minutes or less. We no longer allow the consumption of food on-site and all of our hot-food vendors are packaging their food to go.

4/ Shop later in the market. We are seeing the market is busiest in the first 2 hours, with a line to enter the market at open. If you are able, please try to visit the market in the latter half of the open hours to help us disperse the crowd throughout the full four hours.

5/ Shop solo if possible, no socializing and do not consume food on-site. We ask that if you can, only send one family member to the market. This is not a time for your family to get out of the house together on the weekend. This is a time to get your weekly groceries and go home. If you see a friend, please resist the urge to chat and instead catch up by phone or video chat later. And even though market goodies are so delicious, we ask that you resist the urge to take a bite and please do not consume any food on-site at the market. All food is being sold to go.

6/ Don’t crowd and be aware. Please always maintain a social distance of six feet while shopping or waiting in line. If you are walking through the market, treat everyone like a magnet that you must repel off of at all times. Please mind our signage and cones for line queues and keep your distance. We cannot police every shopper at all times and we need your help to keep the markets as safe as possible.

7/ Let a vendor help you. Please do not touch anything you have not bought and engage in minimal contact at each transaction. Point to the product that you would like, allow the vendor to bag it and set it down on the table before you pick it up.

8/ Minimize payment handling. When possible, use touchless payment options like Venmo or Apple Pay. The majority of our vendors offer a contactless payment option. If you are able, we encourage you to set up Venmo or Apple Pay on your smartphone before you arrive and use them as a payment method. If you do need to hold your card or exchange cash, we ask that you use exact change and that you place your payment on the table and the vendor will pick it up and no hand to hand transfer occurs.

9/ Sanitizing regularly is required. When you enter the market you will be spritzed with hand sanitizer. Each vendor has sanitizer at their booth and we ask that all shoppers sanitize their hands between every transaction. Even if you purchased nothing at the market (in which case you should not be there), you touched something outside of your home and thus you should sanitize your hands frequently.

10/ If you see something, say something. Our vendors are expected to follow a strict sanitizing schedule of sanitizing surfaces once an hour and washing hands at least once an hour. Our staff is on-site engaging with vendors to make sure they are following these rules, among many others. But if you experience a vendor not following a rule during the time of your transaction, tell them directly. Person to person conversations like this will make an impression and help everyone follow the rules.

11/ Be flexible and kind. Everyone is under a lot of stress right now, but we are all in this together. These new rules are not forever, they are just for now. Remember that the virus does not target by race or ethnicity. Remember that we are all trying our best. Remember that a resilient community effort will see us stronger on the other side of this pandemic.

12/ Thank your farmers, vendors and market staff. This is an incredibly challenging time for everyone and each person at the market is working on the frontlines to keep our community fed. Local, sustainable food and small businesses matter now more than ever and we must invest and strengthen our local economy during this time of crisis.

Thank you for helping us keep Texas Farmers’ Markets a safe, healthy, inclusive and nourishing space for all Central Texans.