COLUMBUS, Ohio — As many people work to limit the time they spend inside public spaces, such as grocery stores, some are taking their errands outside.
“We’re seeing customers that we haven’t seen before in years past, and I think it’s because they are hesitant to go to the grocery store,” said Michelle White.
White is the market manager for several local farmers’ markets, including markets in Clintonville, Upper Arlington and Bexley.
“It feels really good out there – just being outside and still being able to get fresh, healthy food,” White said.
Not only does it feel good to shop outside, but medical experts see the benefits as well.
“Farmers’ markets are a great option to help people have a healthy lifestyle; get some great fruits and vegetables and some other goodies by going to a farmers’ market,” said Dr. Mysheika Roberts, Columbus Health Commissioner.
In fact, there are nutritional benefits to eating local as well, White told 10TV.
“Most of the food you see has been picked either that morning in some cases, like with sweet corn, or at least just one day before,” she said. “So, it’s at the peak of freshness. It truly is the healthiest option in terms of buying produce.”
To keep up with safety guidelines during the pandemic, even farmers’ markets have had to make adjustments.
“Most of the [farmers’ markets] that are operating here in Franklin County have worked to really create a safe environment for their patrons so I commend them on that,” Dr. Roberts said.
10TV talked with Jackie Krebs, market manager for the New Albany Farmers’ Market, which has been around for 10 years now and hosts anywhere from 50 to 60 vendors.
Krebs said one of their biggest changes is their mask requirement.
All employees, volunteers and vendors are required to have a mask on, she explained.
Along with masks, the New Albany Farmers’ Market has also taken actions like setting aside the first half hour for shoppers 60 years of age and older, and those within the vulnerable population.
The market also moved to a larger location, and is now in the parking lot of the Church of the Resurrection, allowing it to hold 250 to 300 shoppers safely at one time.
“Setting up at the church has allowed us to keep all of our vendors basically, so we’re really happy,” Krebs said.
Similarly, Clintonville, which has hosted its farmers’ market since 2003, has taken similar precautions, White explained, such as moving the market to the large parking lot of the Ohio History Center.
The Clintonville Farmers’ Market is also offering online pre-ordering for those who want to spend less time at the market.
Before heading out to any farmers’ market around central Ohio, White suggests checking the market’s website and/or social media ahead of time to find out if there are changes to hours, location or rules for shopping.
To learn more about the Clintonville Farmers’ Market, click here.
To learn more about the New Albany Farmers’ Market, click here.