Submitted by: Bellingham Farmers Market
Farmers Markets are an essential part of our economy and community. Shopping at farmers markets helps to support agricultural producers, ensure food access for all, and builds connections between producers and consumers. Farmers markets were recently listed as “essential infrastructure” in Governor Inslee’s proclamation on March 23rd.
The Bellingham Farmers Market (BFM) is a community icon among locals, and supports small family farms, local businesses, and helps feed people healthy, nutritious food. In response to COVID 19, the Bellingham Farmers Market was suspended on March 16. Since then, the organization has been working diligently with the Whatcom County Health Department and other local partners to create a modified market that ensures the health and safety of its vendors and shoppers.
The Bellingham Farmers Market is vital to the success of over one hundred local producers. They depend on the market being open in order to make sales, make ends meet, and ensure a thriving business. They want to feed you healthy, nutritious, tasty food – grown and made right here, where you live, work, and play. We hope you consider shopping at the farmers market for your produce and grocery needs. Every purchase truly makes a difference.
On Saturday, April 11, the BFM season begins. From 10 am to 3 pm, you will get the chance to experience the Bellingham Farmers Market under this approved modified plan. Expect to see some of your favorite vendors, but also expect it to look and operate differently than normal. Some key changes to note are:
- The market will only be offering farm produce and some other grocery staples, like bread, meat, and cheese.
- Fewer vendors will be at the market to ensure that booths are adequately spaced to allow for social distancing among vendors and shoppers. Social distancing standards will be strictly enforced. Only a limited number of shoppers will be allowed to enter at a time.
- Increased measures for health and safety including extra handwashing stations. Shoppers will not be allowed to touch produce or products – vendors must bag items at point of sale.
- Entertainment, music, and eating areas have been suspended until further notice.
- Limited entry and exit points. The shopper entrance will be located at the SW corner of the Depot Market Square – by the goat statue.
The Bellingham Farmers Market asks that you follow these guidelines to keep the market safe and open:
1. Stay home if you are sick:
- Shortness of breath, or
- Fever of 100.4 F or greater, or
- A cough, or
- A sore throat, or
- New muscle aches
- Vomiting, diarrhea, or jaundice (symptoms of other illnesses that can be spread through food)
2. Identify if you are in a “high-risk group” and consider having someone else shop for you:
- people age 60 and over
- pregnant women
- people with underlying health conditions
- people with weakened immune systems
3. Wash hands frequently with warm soapy water. Cover coughs and sneezes.
4. Customers are not allowed to handle produce/products before buying, allow the vendor to bag purchases.
5. Keep six feet distance from others at all time (except those in your family or immediate household)
6. Make a shopping list and complete shopping as quickly as possible.
7. This is not a social hour! Limit interactions with other customers and vendors. When possible, please only have one person per household at market to make social distancing easier for others.
8. Be prepared with small bills to offer exact change to vendors when possible. Some vendors may also accept alternative hands-free payments like Venmo or Apple Pay.
Also note that vehicle tow-rules will be in effect at the Depot Market parking lot to ensure social distancing measures. Please move your car out of the lot on Friday nights, preceding when the market operates. “No parking” signs will be posted as they usually are.
Finally, this situation is still evolving. We will continue to change and adapt our market protocols as necessary and continue to work closely with the Whatcom County Health Dept. and our other partners, in order to ensure the safety of our vendors and shoppers.
The Bellingham Farmers Market supports local sustainable agriculture by connecting the public with local farmers, artisans, and other producers in an economically viable marketplace.
For more information about the Bellingham Farmers Market, please visit the website or Facebook page. The Saturday farmers market is located at Depot Market Square, 1100 Railroad Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225.