Many local farmers markets are starting off their season soon with changes to observe COVID-19 precautions.
Main Street Murfreesboro Saturday Market will open on Saturday, June 6. Hours are 8 a.m.-noon on Saturdays through September.
Organizers and vendors will follow guidelines from the CDC, Tennessee Department of Agriculture/UT Extension and a coalition of farmers markets, market manager Linda Weeks said.
One change is that pets will not be allowed, she said, because they can hold up the traffic flow with people admiring them. Organizers want to discourage socializing. Customers and vendors are asked to wear masks.
Market officials had initially said that personal shopping bags would be banned, but they changed that decision because it did not make sense, Weeks said.
“Farmers markets are considered an essential service,” Weeks said. “A lot of local farmers in Middle Tennessee rely on markets to reach their customer base. We ask customers to look at the market as a place to support the farmers.”
A few longtime vendors are not returning, and there are four new vendors, Weeks said. The number of spots was cut from the typical 50-56 to 48 to allow for more spacing.
Many farmers began asking Main Street Murfreesboro about the status of the market back in February, she said.
The organization has received a great deal of cooperation from the city and county in providing more room on the square, she said. For the first time, the market will expand into the east side of the Courthouse parking lot. Organizers gave local government officials a plan showing spacing between vendors to avoid crowding at tables.
A map and vendor list are at mainstreetmurfreesboro.org.
The Smyrna Depot Farmers Market opens Saturday, May 23. Hours are 8 a.m.-noon on Saturdays through Sept. 19.
According to the website of Carpe Artista, the organizer, there will be extra space between vendors. Vendors will wear masks. The market manager will check to ensure people are following social distancing guidelines. More information is at carpeartista.com.
There will not be a kids’ zone, artisan crafters or other non-food services for now. Customers are asked to make their purchases and then make room for the next shopper. Also, households are asked to send only one shopper.
Restrooms will be available through the north Depot doors.
Customers must wear a face mask to enter and are not allowed to touch any produce. The vendors will help customers make the selections. No pets are allowed.
The La Vergne Farmers Market will begin on Tuesday, June 2 at Bicentennial Park, 5093 Murfreesboro Rd. The market will continue every Tuesday from June through September, from 3-7 p.m.
Vendors are being asked to set up their tents a minimum of 8-10 feet apart and sell only agricultural items for the month of June. Parks and Recreation staff will re-evaluate the market every month to determine if it is appropriate to begin allowing vendors to sell handmade, homemade items.
Vendor applications are available online. For questions about registering, contact Event Coordinator Robert Rayburn at email@example.com.
The Rutherford County Farmers Market is open. Hours are 7 a.m.-noon, Tuesdays and Fridays, at Lane Agri-Park Complex.
Masks are required, and gloves are preferred.
A limited number of customers will be allowed in the market at a time, and the number of vendors will be limited.
Vendors will accept cashless payment such as Venmo or Cash App to limit the exchange of cash, but cash will be accepted.
City Manager Hellyn R. Riggins said by email, “With last year being Eagleville's first farmers market, it was a learning experience for us. We enjoyed the market and it turned out to be very successful for both farmers and customers.
“However, with the new guidelines set by the CDC for Farmer’s Markets, and our concern with keeping all sellers and visitors to the market safe, we are postponing the opening of the market until such time as we feel that we can comply with CDC recommendations.”
Stones River Market
The market operates year-round with ordering handled online starting at 8 a.m. on Sundays, and closing at 10 p.m. Mondays. Pickups are once a week at Quinn’s Mercantile on Wednesdays, from 5-6:30 p.m. The website is stonesriver.locallygrown.net.
Manager Catherine Simmons said a tent will be set up next to Quinn’s both to practice social distancing and to make room for Quinn’s customers. Vendors can bring the food to a customer’s car. Payment options include invoice by email, cash or credit card using a contactless machine. Delivery is also offered in some cases.