The Lake Oswego Farmers’ Market will be returning this summer in its new, COVID-19 approved version. While the market will be smaller to allow for more space between vendors, Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Supervisor Jamie Inglis says she is “glad we will get to operate in some capacity.”
And, as with everything else, the market has also gone virtual, showcasing a collective of all the farmers’ market vendors where you can connect and order directly. Some offer alternative places to purchase their products, such as farmstands and grocery stores.
Although we may not enjoy all the social interaction that the market has traditionally provided, it still is a valuable resource for bringing us fresh, local food. And, food that comes to us through a shortened supply chain, meaning fewer hands have touched it than the food we buy in the grocery store.
So, at a time when we might be guilty of thinking of everything we can’t do, consider this a blessing of something that we can. Thanks to the due diligence of city staff, we can add our award-winning market to the list of national markets that the New York Times recently called, “Laboratories for new communal safety habits.”
Here’s what you can expect:
- Later start date. The market is set to open June 6 and run through October 9 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The new guidelines will be in effect through the month of June during which time city staff will evaluate how things are working.
- Special entrance time for high-risk population. Seniors and those with underlying medical conditions can enter the market from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
- One entrance. In order to control the traffic flow, people are being asked to enter and exit at the 2nd Street entrance. You can line up along Evergreen as you wait to enter.
- Social distancing will be enforced. It seems the pandemic has created a new position—that of “Social Distancing Officer.” This person will be placed at the market’s entrance to ensure that people are honoring the six-foot markers placed around the park. Each vendor booth is also expected to have its own social distancing officer to ensure that people are staying a safe distance from each other.
- Fewer vendors. In order to allow more space between vendors, the number of booths will be reduced from seasons past. Food item vendors are being given priority with refreshment and value-added vendors participating on a rotating basis. There will be no hot food, cut flowers or alcohol until the restrictions have been lifted.
- Nonessential programs have also been suspended for the time being. Those include music, kids’ corner and merchandise sales. But you can find many of them on the Lake Oswego Farmers Market Virtual Marketplace!
- Sampling and exposed food displays will be suspended. Tasting the different varieties of berries or sampling olive oils are a thing of the past (and hopefully of the future). But for the time being, you’ll need to make your purchases based on what you see. And if you touch, you buy. Vendors will provide bags for your purchases. Reusable bags can be used for you to carry everything in but please do not give them to vendors for bagging.
- Pre-orders are recommended. If you are able, organizers encourage you to contact your favorite vendors beforehand and place and pay for your orders so all you have to do on market day is pick things up.
- Limit the size of your group. In the interest of everyone’s safety, it’s recommended that you come to the market alone or as a pair.
- Card purchases are encouraged over cash and the use of $5 tokens has been suspended for the time being. SNAP and SNAP matching tokens will still be offered.
- Regular COVID-19 safety precautions are encouraged. Protective masks are recommended and as in all situations, please stay home if you are sick.
- Handwashing stations will be available as well as hand sanitizers.
Some things will remain the same: the beautiful setting, fresh open air, quality vendors, and the knowledge that city employees are making it their job to provide the best and safest experience possible.
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