Farmers’ Markets Adopt Measures to Thwart COVID-19 and Maintain the Farm-to-table Food Chain

Published on Apr 27, 2020


Pasadena Farmers Market’s two locations at Villa Parke and at Victory Park will continue to operate as “essential businesses” under an updated County Health Officer Order which has now been extended through May 15.

Under the updated order, farmers’ markets in the state may allow only prepackaged food booths to operate. No food preparation food booths are allowed, and the sale of food is limited to only whole uncut produce and pre-packaged food items that meet California Department of Food and Agriculture requirements.

Also, no sampling of unpackaged food is permitted, and market managers are advised to ensure appropriate signs and documents are posted in conspicuous places enforcing social distancing protocols upon entry into any farmers’ market.

Signs should also be posted asking customers to remain home if they are sick, even with mild illness, practice proper handwashing procedures, wear face masks or cloth face coverings while in public, and wash all produce before consumption.

Gretchen Sterling, manager of Pasadena Farmers’ Market at Victory Park, says these new protocols help everyone.

“Because it’s important to keep these markets open, new health guidelines are in place to make sure they stay open,” Sterling told the Pasadena Weekly.

The new guidelines include social distancing, a single entry into the market and two exits, both marked and sufficiently staffed, Sterling pointed out.

They’re also encouraging families to designate one shopper only who goes to market while the rest of the family stays home, she added.

In line with guidance from Pasadena’s Department of Public Health, non-food vendors and entertainment activities have been temporarily suspended at the two Pasadena farmers’ market locations.

Market managers are also making sure regular disinfection is conducted when the markets are not open, and that a sufficient supply of hand sanitizer is available.

Victory Park market will be open each Saturday morning for entry from 8 a.m. to noon, with a new monitored entrance at the northwest corner of the parking lot. The market is located in the 2900 block of North Sierra Madre Blvd.

Pasadena Farmers’ Market at Villa Parke Center is open Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The market is located at 363 East Villa St.

In South Pasadena, the farmers’ market located at Meridian Ave. and El Centro Street follows the same guidance from the LA County Public Health Department, which also means extra measures in place to help ensure safety and health for patrons.

The market is open from 4 to 8 p.m. every Thursday, according to the latest advisory. For more information, call (626) 403-2820.

Laurie Wheeler, president and CEO of the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, told Pasadena Weekly that market managers have also posted signs reminding folks of social distancing, staying home if sick, don’t touch produce you won’t purchase, wash produce before consuming.

So far, patrons have been cooperating well.

A major consequence of the COVID-19 emergency is its impact on farmers’ livelihood. With many of Los Angeles’ top restaurants closed, the farmers look up to farmers’ markets as their only source of income.

There’s no way farmers can survive without farmers’ markets,” Jose Jaime, owner of JF Organics, said. “Even a little bit to pay the bills to pay farmworkers – we need them to stay open.”

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