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Prepping for the Farmers Market, in the Year of Covid-19

May 15th, 2020 | Posted by miker in Community Affairs | Musings from the Field

This Friday, my partner Colleen, and our friend Tami, and I, harvested a lot; hardy greens, Kales, Napa, Collards, Spinach and some Swiss Chard. Yesterday I had harvested Arugula and Micro Greens. We also had a stash of Radishes from a previous harvest.

I am very particular about the Produce rinsing, so that is my Job. Fill the bulk tanks, immerse and agitate the produce, spin it dry, bulk pack it into bio bags, until we package.

Colleen and Tami returned from lunch, garbed themselves in face masks, and packed greens for about 4 hours.

All this is fairly normal, except that the whole time, we were wearing face masks. And both Moms had to get their kids connected and functioning with Virtual School in the morning and another chance to reinforce the need to “do your virtual school work!” while trying to make lunch and get a bite themselves.

Our Farmers Market has taken many steps to accommodate Social Distancing and avoiding crowds. They have posted instructions for a new entrance, allowing a line of cars to wait until being allowed into the parking area. Instructions on customer behaviors – wear a mask, don’t bring kids, don’t loiter chatting, or gather in groups, line up appropriately and don’t take a long time shopping.

Our stand is going to be bare bones – three stations – #1 place your order, #2 here’s your produce, #3 please pay by check, or exact change and Bring your own Pen!

All our produce is going to be $5, or $10 and each unit is already packed. A lot of my customers are going to be unhappy with this, “too much greens” they’ll say. Its true, I’d rather set up the usual display, lots of colors and options, allowing browsing, custom selections and enjoyment of the moment.

But this is serious – we are farmers, and we want to get the food to you. Our customers need access to food, and honestly, if major food distribution systems falter, local Farmers Markets will, all the sudden, be valued by a lot more people. We have no idea how many customers to expect, and want everyone to get a healthy dose, of the high quality, whole foods, we are bringing you. If it seems like too much greens, chop it finer, and add it to more meals. Hearty Greens will keep you Healthy!

As a manager, and as a worker, as a father and a husband, a Brother, I am stressed out, by this Covid-19 crisis. I don’t like to wear a mask, but I believe it is critical to reduce exposure between people. I am a key shopper for my family, and just as I expect the folks who serve me, to be careful of how they act, I too am very careful to protect the food chain that I provide. I already washed my hands, all the time, now I regularly am spritzing diluted bleach solution, and wiping down every time I enter and leave a public space, because if a molecule of virus gets on me, I want to weaken and remove it. Keeping myself – and my family, and my customers – free of Covid-19, is the priority now, and it takes up a lot of time, energy and emotional space.

This Virus Crisis is a wake up call – Nature is in charge here, and anything can happen. Humans have carved wide paths through the Paradise that we’ve been born into, and we are quick to call out that others are wrong and nasty. Everyday, we make decisions about how to be, whether to hoard or to share, whether to help or exclude. You can see the people wearing masks, and making space for others, and know that they are the people who are aware of others, who recognize that their actions matter, and they make up the real strength of a community, struggling with a new challenge.

See you at the market, (if you are the designated shopper), and know that (most likely) I am smiling at you, behind my mask.

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