How BR farmers markets and local groceries adapted to COVID-19

From the Bay Area to the Ozarks, and across the Southern United States, scores of farmers markets nationwide adapted to the coronavirus outbreak with drive-thru formats.

The Red Stick Farmers Market was an early adapter, having already deployed social distancing and other public health measures at the mid-March markets. And by the end of the month, BREADA Executive Director Copper Alvarez announced the market’s Thursday and Saturday gatherings would take place exclusively in a drive-thru format temporarily, with patrons remaining in cars while proceeding through a single lane lined with regular vendors. The change kept patrons and farmers safer, while enabling the market to get back to its roots as a community food source.

“The farmers market has always been about giving the community a place to source food,” Alvarez says. “We might have grown to be more of a total experience with events, but at our core, connecting people to fresh local foods is what we’re about.”

Earlier this month, the market returned to its open-air, walk-up format.

Read on for more on how the farmers market as well as local grocery stores had to adapt when the stay-at-home order was first announced. This article was originally published as part of the ‘Restaurants fight to survive’ cover story in the May 2020 issue of 225.