UPDATE June 24, 2020: The Iowa City Farmers Market canceled plans to resume in-person markets, due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Johnson County. See press release at end.
The Iowa City Farmers Market will return to in-person markets beginning Saturday, July 4, 2020, while the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance has moved to drive-through markets for the rest of the season and has canceled its popular Market After Dark.
For now, the Iowa City markets will only be held from 7:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, while organizers evaluate the return of Wednesday night markets later this summer.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, vendors will be spread out to allow for adequate space and floor markers will help keep customers moving in one direction.
Market organizers also ask that customers wear face masks. All vendors will also be wearing personal protective equipment.
While guidelines have expanded to allow arts and crafts to be sold at farmers markets, after temporarily forbidding them due to the pandemic, Iowa City is still prohibiting those items at its markets, along with live entertainment.
“The Farmers Market has always been a favorite gathering space in our community,” Iowa City’s website noted. “While we long for those days, these precautions are designed to allow people access to fresh, local food without lingering around to socialize. Please be respectful, practice social distancing, and help us create a safe environment to support our local food systems.”
Field to Family has been collaborating with the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department to offer a contact-free online farmers market for the 2020 growing season.
Cedar Rapids offered a drive-through market twice in June in lieu of its Downtown Farmers Market, which attracts an average of 14,000 customers. The first drive-through market had 430 cars pass through the venue and a total of 1,400 items purchased from market vendors.
All of the remaining dates will be drive-through markets, and Market After Dark, scheduled for Aug. 22, has now been canceled.
Nearly 50,000 people attended Market After Dark last year.
Remaining Downtown Farmers Market dates are July 4, July 18, August 1, August 15, September 5 and September 19, all from 8-11 a.m.
Organizers noted that hosting drive-through morning markets and canceling Market After Dark is the best decision for the health and safety of all involved, while complying with public health guidelines.
“Ensuring social distancing with large-scale community events like a traditional Downtown Farmers Market and Market After Dark would be near impossible,” said Ellie Evans, events planner for the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. “Our top priority is the health and safety of attendees, volunteers and vendors, and our decision reflects that.”
Customers must place orders online at www.cedarrapids.shopwhereilive.com. Online orders for each market open the day of the prior market and end the Thursday before the market at 6 p.m. Orders for the July 4 market opened Saturday, June 20, and end Thursday, July 2, at 6 p.m. Attendees then pick up items from vendors on market Saturdays. No purchases are made on-site.
Artisan and craft items will be added to the products offered at the Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market.
Find a list of other Eastern Iowa farmers markets.
The following press release was issued by the city of Iowa City:
The Iowa City in-person Farmers Market will retain its digital format for the 2020 season. The traditional market was originally postponed until Saturday, July 4, 2020, and expected to open with COVID-19 health and safety precautions in place.
The difficult decision to cancel the in-person market was made due to recent increases in confirmed coronavirus cases in Johnson County.
It is for this reason, as well as our concern for the safety of vendors and customers that the City of Iowa City and the Parks and Recreation Department have determined that the Iowa City Farmers Market will remain closed through the 2020 season.
Customers can still access locally-sourced produce, meat, and other farm-fresh products through the Online Farmers Market, which opened in May. A partnership with Field to Family was created in a response to the pandemic as a way for customers to access local foods and has been extended indefinitely. This successful market option provides online ordering and contact-free pick-ups on Saturday mornings at the Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp.
The Iowa City Farmers Market is a program of Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department.
For all Iowa City COVID-19 news, updates and resources, visit our web page at www.icgov.org/Coronavirus.