Heading to my local farmers market is one of my favorite summer activities. I’m lucky, too, because where I live, there’s no shortage of markets taking place on the weekends and even during the week.
Entire blocks shut down for vendors to set up. Sometimes there’s live music, samples, and all kinds of homemade crafts being sold. Of course, there are tons of fruits and veggies to choose from as well, and snacks like breakfast sandwiches and yummy green juice.
Usually, when I head to the farmers market with my kids, we spend a good chunk of time there. Sometimes, we meet up with friends, hula hoop, and just hang out. We always go home with bags full of market goodies either way.
But this year, our trips to the farmers market look a bit different. We’re still enjoying them — we’re just taking some simple precautions in order to stay safe.
Here are a few things experts are saying you should do to keep yourself safe while still enjoying your local farmers market in 2020.
Limit the Time You Spend There
While, like me, you might enjoy spending all day hanging out at the farmers market, now it’s best to limit your time in all social situations. In the case of all social activities, the longer you’re hanging out, the more chance for exposure there is. You can definitely still make the trip, but limiting the time you spend in a place where there are likely to be lots of people is going to be important this year.
Go in Small Groups
If you’re used to meeting up with friends at the markets, it’s best to skip that part, or at the very least, stick to small groups. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends not hanging out in groups larger than 10, regardless of the activity. So you can definitely still go with your family, or a couple of friends, as long as everyone is practicing social distancing and doing their best to stay safe.
Bring Your Own Bags
Most people are used to bringing their own bags to the farmers market. That’s good, because it means less opportunity for transmission. Vendors won’t need to touch your food at all — you can simply pick it out on your own and place it in your bag.
Pay With an App
Almost all vendors will accept payment from apps like Venmo and Cash. That’s especially helpful right now because using paper bills is definitely not the safest way to pay. Paying with an app means you don’t have to touch hands with anyone, hand vendors bills that might not be safe, or get back change that could carry the virus.
Wash Your Produce
While the risk of getting the virus from material items is fairly low, it’s still a good idea to wash everything you bring home. Giving all your items a good scrub will likely make you feel a bit more relaxed about consuming the products, too. It’s also a good idea to let your food sit for a few hours, as most of the virus will die off by then. It can live on certain surfaces in ideal conditions for up to 72 hours. That’s why washing everything you bring in your home is still a good idea.
Wear Your Mask
It’s still a good idea to wear a mask when you leave your home. While being outside is safer than being indoors where other people also are, in areas that are bound to be more crowded, a mask is a must. At the farmers market, you can’t avoid all social interaction, like when you’re making purchases. Your mask will help protect you as well as help keep others safe.
Bring Hand Sanitizer
If you’re spending a chunk of time around others or touching things outside of your home “safe area,” you should definitely bring along some hand sanitizer. That way, if you slip up and touch someone or something, you can always apply a quick squirt to yourself or your kids. When there are little ones running around playing, you simply can’t stop them from touching everything.
Avoid the Crowds
Some popular farmers markets get crowded! If you know you’re going somewhere that tends to have a lot of people, you’ll have to be extra careful. Try going at a time when the crowd typically thins out. Practice patience and keep your distance from others when waiting in a line. Wherever possible, stick to the outskirts of the crowds. That way, you’ll have a little more room to breathe and to feel safe.