The first Homer Farmers Market of the season in the new COVID-19 reality is over and a lot was learned. It was similar to the markets years ago when there weren’t as many vendors. The open layout and fewer vendors brings it back to the original goal of simply getting local food to locals.
The parking lot was never completely full, not because of a lack of customers but because people came, bought their food, and left. The shopping experience at the Market is not one for hanging out like it has been in recent years. This year everyone is down to business.
The Market is lucky. What makes our local food the best available is the freshness inherent in food picked within days instead of weeks. It turns out that the Market is also the safest place to shop in a time of COVID-19 concerns.
Just think about it. It’s the premier local grocery store with 100% UV sunlight and 100% open air. Hand sanitizer and wash stands are at the entry, around the Market, and at the exit. Every five hours, the whole “store” gets broken down, cleaned and sanitized (and put away till the next Market). What grocery store can meet those standards?
We cannot afford for our farmers to get sick. But we also don’t want Market staff, seniors or immunocompromised folks getting sick. Actually, no one wants to get sick. So, upon evaluating the first Market, the Market Board voted to raise the bar. Rather than only suggesting, hoping and asking that customers wear face coverings, it will now be required the entire Market day. Everyone needs to be safe.
So come on down this Saturday to get some veggies like onions, potatoes, beets, lettuce greens, celeriac, chives, even hot peppers. You can also get coffee from Fika, Homer’s newest roaster, or get microgreens from 82-year-old George Hamm’s latest endeavor (after years of boat building, owning a sawmill and a storage unit business and traveling 75,000 miles on veggie oil). The Market continues to showcase our community’s local producers. Come shop safely, show them your support, and get the reward of Homer’s finest local products.
Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.