The coronavirus pandemic is altering the Vancouver Farmers Market’s cool-weather offerings this year.
Instead of the usual Harvest Market on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and Holiday Market in the Vancouver Convention Center for the three days after, a once-a-week outdoor market will begin Saturday and continue through Dec. 19.
“That’s so we can spread out who comes,” said Stephanie Haynes, partnerships and programs manager for the Vancouver Farmers Market. The market wants to discourage crowding that could lead to the spread of COVID-19.
“We don’t feel comfortable with an indoors market,” Haynes said.
Between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturdays, about 70 vendors will line Esther and Eighth streets to offer fall crops — apples, squash, onions, potatoes and other root vegetables — as well as craft items suitable for gift-giving.
Shoppers can order online for curbside pickup on Saturdays if they’re wary of mingling, Haynes said.
The pandemic has altered the Vancouver Farmers Market since spring. Precautions delayed the market’s opening by six weeks and then reduced foot traffic.
In 2019, the Vancouver Farmers Market featured 120 vendors and attracted a total of 480,000 visitors throughout the season, Haynes said. This year, the market had between 70 and 90 vendors, with about a quarter as many visitors as last year, she said. But it’s not all bad news.
“We’ve had vendors reporting that their sales have been just as good as last year or better. People are really coming to shop,” Haynes said. “It’s a little bit less about a fun day with your family and more about supporting local businesses and buying groceries in a safe way.”