Large-scale farmers markets face different challenges to abide by state-issued coronavirus-related requirements than do smaller markets.
Those sizable markets, including Iowa City and Downtown Cedar Rapids, have major changes in store to comply with social distancing and other recommendations issued in response to the pandemic.
New Iowa farmers market guidelines include:
— Markets may only permit vendors who sell farm products or food. Other goods or services are not permitted.
— Musical performances and activities, such as children’s activities, contests or other entertainment is prohibited
— Common seating areas, picnic tables and dining areas must be eliminated.
— Vendor booths must be spaced at least 6 feet apart.
— Farmers markets also must implement reasonable measures to ensure social distancing of vendors and customers and increase hygiene practices to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
To that end, some markets are only allowing one person per household to shop.
The Washington, Iowa, farmers market is among those recommending face masks for customers and requiring them for vendors. Customers will not be allowed to handle produce, but will point out what they want to vendors, who will bag the selected items.
Iowa City is offering an online, contact-free market through Field to Family and Iowa City Parks & Recreation, with support from Johnson County and the Climate Action Committee.
Orders are due on Wednesday of each week, with the first deadline on May 6. Customers can pick up their items on Saturdays, beginning May 9, at the regular market site at the Chauncey Swan parking ramp, 460 E. Washington St.
Cedar Rapids will have another farmers market option at the NewBo City Market, which is offering an outdoor market, for produce and food only, on Wednesdays and Sundays, beginning May 6, 2020, as well as food trucks on Tuesdays.
The Downtown Farmers Market in Cedar Rapids typically attracts 14,000 customers at each of its twice-monthly markets.
The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, which hosts the downtown markets, last week announced it would forego a previously awarded $25,000 in hotel-motel funding that would have been used for the markets.
The group noted that the market “will face adjustments this year to comply with public health standards and for the safety of all, thus leading to lower event expenses.”
Those changes, announced May 6, note that the first two markets, on Saturday, June 6, and June 20, will be drive-through markets.
Prior to the market, customers will place orders online on the local e-commerce platform, Cedar Rapids Area Shop Where I Live at www.cedarrapids.shopwhereilive.com. Attendees will pick up items from vendors between 7:30 a.m. and noon on market Saturdays.
The drive-through market will feature about 30 vendors with products like produce, honey, baked goods, prepared food and other farm products. Online ordering for June 6 vendors will be available from Monday, May 25 to Thursday, June 4 at 6 p.m. No purchases will be made on-site. A list of June 6 vendors and the market venue will be available soon on www.CRDowntownMarket.com.
Following their online purchase, attendees will receive an order number. On the day of the market, attendees are asked to create a sign with their order number and display it in the windshield of their car. As attendees drive through the market, they will pull off into a vendor’s designated pick up zone to collect their purchased items. Attendees are expected to limit interaction with vendors and must remain in their car at all times. Vendors will place purchased items in either the cars’ trunk or backseat.
The Economic Alliance will continue to evaluate options and make decisions based on public health guidelines for the remainder of the 2020 market season.
Last year’s Market After Dark in Cedar Rapids attracted 50,000 people. See photos here.
Markets of every size postponed opening, as they awaited guidance from the state. Some of the earliest markets, such as Hiawatha’s, which typically opens in April, delayed their opening dates to June. (See list, below)
Steve Cunningham said some of Iowa’s new recommendations should be doable for the Harpers Ferry farmers market in Allamakee County.
“We can do social distancing,” said Cunningham, a 74-year-old beekeeper who sells honey and serves as manager of the northeast Iowa market with his wife, Bobbie.
Cunningham said the St. Ann-St. Joseph Church parking lot, where the market is held, should be large enough to space the 10 to 16 vendors who regularly sell their items at the weekly market to more than 6 feet apart. Vendors will also be wearing face masks and gloves, he said.
More challenging, though, will be limiting the items vendors sell to strictly food, Cunningham said.
Some of the Amish vendors at the Harpers Ferry market typically sell a variety of items, as do other vendors, who might sell cookies along with their crafts, for example. Amish vendors need the income from a range of items to pay for their ride to the markets, as they typically hire a driver, Cunningham noted.
While vendors selling goods other than food or farm products are prohibited, some markets are making an exception for sewn face masks.
Cunningham said the Harpers Ferry market will have time to sort through other details before its opening Friday, May 22. The market runs 5-7 p.m. every Friday through the end of September.
Find a list of Eastern Iowa farmers markets, below. The list will be updated throughout the season on HomegrownIowan.com/farmersmarkets, as more markets solidify their plans.
Homegrown farmers market list © Cindy Hadish/Homegrown Iowan
— PENDING Waukon, 3:30-6 p.m. Mondays, June 1 through Sept. 27, Allamakee County Fairgrounds; Extension Office, (563) 568-6345.
— Harpers Ferry, 5-7 p.m. Fridays, May 22 through Sept. 25, St. Ann-St. Joseph church parking lot; Steve and Bobbie Cunningham (563)-568-1229 or (563) 794-0166.
— PENDING Atkins, 5-7 p.m. Sundays on June 14, July 12, Aug. 9 and Sept 13, Atkins City Park, 320 Second Ave.; firstname.lastname@example.org or (319) 981-7755.
— Belle Plaine, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Fridays; June 5 through Oct. 30, 12th Street and Ninth Avenue, in front of the museum; Erica Dickerson, (319) 361-6623.
— Urbana, 9-11 a.m. Saturdays, May 23 through Sept. 26, American Legion Pavilion, 204 W. Wood St., and Community Center (if open) on Saturdays in October; Eileen Schmidt, (319) 443-5620.
— Vinton, 5-7 p.m. Thursdays, June 18 through Sept. 24, Celebration Park, 105 W. Second St.; Vinton Parks and Recreation, (319) 472-4164.
Black Hawk County
— Cedar Valley, 3:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, May 12 through Oct. 27, Kimball Avenue and Ridgeway Road, behind cancer treatment center and KFC, Waterloo; Mark Litteaur, (319) 296-1840.
— Cedar Valley at Shiloh Baptist Church, 3-6 p.m. Thursdays, May 14 through Oct. 29, 3525 Sager Ave., Waterloo; Mark Litteaur, (319) 296-1840.
— College Hill, 4-6 p.m. Thursdays, June 4 through Oct. 29, corner of 22nd and College Street, Cedar Falls; Jodie Huegerich, (319) 273-7883. Online ordering and curbside pickup option at: www.healthyharvestni.com/curbside
— Dunkerton, 5-7 p.m. Mondays, May 4 through Oct. 26, Gazebo Park, 114 W. Main St.; (319) 822-4247; email@example.com
— Kimball Ridge Family Market, 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays, May 4 through Oct. 31, NE corner of Kimball and Ridgeway Avenue, Waterloo; Carolyn Adolphs, (319) 478-8624.
— La Porte City, 4-6 p.m. Fridays, June 26 through Aug. 14, City Park; Barb Bader, (319) 342-3369.
— Waterloo Urban, 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays, May 16 through Oct. 31, Riverloop Expo Plaza, 460 Jefferson St.; Waterloo Main Street, (319) 291-2038. Online ordering and curbside pickup option at: www.healthyharvestni.com/curbside
— Independence, 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays, June 13 through Oct. 10, Wapsipinicon Mill, 100 First St. W; Buchanan County Extension, (319) 334-7161.
— Mechanicsville, 4-6 p.m. Tuesdays, June 2 through Sept. 29, across from fire station on Main Street; Linda Coppess, (563) 432-7756, or Evelyn Walshire (563) 432-6983.
— West Branch, 3:30-6 p.m. Tuesdays, dates pending, by gazebo at Downey and Main streets; Marilyn Hanson (319) 643-2044.
— Edgewood, 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays, June 3 through Sept. 30, City Park; (563) 928-7036.
— Guttenberg, 8 a.m. to noon, Saturdays, May 16 through Oct. 24, 400 block of S. River Park Drive; Development and Tourism Office, (563) 252-2323.
— Manchester, 7:30 to 11 a.m. Saturdays, May 23 through Oct. 3, behind Bushel & A Peck on River Street; Jan Conrad, (563) 927-4141.
— Dubuque, 7 a.m. to noon Saturdays, May 16 through September and 8 a.m. to noon through October, Iowa Street near City Hall; Dubuque Main Street, (563) 588-4400.
— PENDING Dubuque Millwork Night Market, 5-9 p.m. Thursdays: May 14, June 11, July 9, Aug. 13, Sept. 10 and Oct. 8, Seventh to Ninth Streets on Jackson; firstname.lastname@example.org
— Dyersville, 2-5:30 p.m. Thursdays, May 21 through Oct. 1, Commercial Club Park, Hwy. 136; Chamber of Commerce, (563) 875-2311.
— PENDING Elgin, 4:30-6 p.m. Thursdays, City Park; Deanna Walvatne, (319) 269-2614.
— Oelwein, 3-6 p.m. Mondays and 8-11 a.m. Fridays, May 22 through Oct. 23, Log Cabin Park, 100 First Street SW.; Delphine Deaner, (319) 283-8012.
— Maquoketa, 4-6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, May 19 through Oct 13, Ohnward Fine Arts Center, 1215 E. Platt St. (Highway 64;) Ted Strait, (563) 652-6978, email@example.com
— Coralville, 5-7 p.m. Mondays, May 18 through Oct. 5, (no market on Labor Day) Community Aquatic Center, 1513 Seventh St.; Matt Hibbard, (319) 248-1750. www.coralville.org/farmersmarket
— Iowa City, online, contact-free market offered by Field to Family and Iowa City Parks & Recreation, with support from Johnson County and the Climate Action Committee. Orders due Wednesday of each week, beginning May 6, with pickup on Saturdays, beginning May 9, at Chauncey Swan parking ramp, 460 E. Washington St.; Tammy Neumann, (319) 356-5210. www.icgov.org/farmersmarket
— Northern Ridge Farm and Farmer’s Market, closed, doing wholesale only. Oxford; David and Penny Lacina, (319) 331-4816.
— Solon, 3-6 p.m. Tuesdays, first week of June through mid-October, Mushroom Park, Highway 1 and Main Street. Jim Grieder, (319) 310-4671.
— Swisher, no markets this year; City Hall (319) 857-4539. www.swisheria.org
— Monticello, 3-5:30 p.m. Wednesdays and 8-11 a.m. Saturdays, May 9 through mid-October, Willow Shelter on East Oak Street next to Pizza Ranch; pre-orders for curbside pick up or delivery also offered by vendors, with list on facebook.com/MontiFarmersMarket
— PENDING Cedar Rapids Noelridge Park, 4-6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, (except July 3 and Labor Day) June 1 through Oct. 16, Collins Road and Council Street NE; Cathy Scanlon, (319) 286-5763. www.cedar-rapids.org
— Cedar Rapids Lion Bridge, 59 16th Ave. SW; No markets this year; www.lionbridgebrewing.com
— Downtown Cedar Rapids, 7:30 a.m. to noon on June 6 and 20; July 4 and 18; Aug. 1 and 18; and Sept. 5 and 19, and Market After Dark, 6:30-11 p.m., Aug. 22, first two markets online with drive-through pick up; Jenn Draper, (319) 398-5317. www.cedarrapids.org
— PENDING Center Point: 4-6 p.m. Wednesdays, June 3 through Sept. 23, Titan Machinery parking lot, 4250 Grain Lane; contact City Hall, (319) 849-1508.
— Ely, no markets this year; jams, honey, granola, eggs, milk, cheese and other local products available at Dan & Debbie’s Creamery, 1600 Main St., www.dananddebbies.com
— Hiawatha, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays, June 7 through Oct. 25, Guthridge Park parking lot at 10th Avenue; (319) 393-1515, www.hiawatha-iowa.com
— Marion, 8-11:30 a.m. Saturdays, June 6 through Sept. 26, Taube Park, 2200 31st St.; Marion Parks & Recreation, (319) 447-3590, www.cityofmarion.org
— Uptown Marion Market, 8 a.m. to noon June 13, July 11 and Aug. 8 and Fall Market from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 26, City Square Park, Seventh Avenue and 10th Street; Marion Chamber of Commerce, (319) 377-6316. www.marioncc.org
— Mount Vernon, 4-6 p.m. Thursdays, June 4 through Sept. 24, next to the First Street Community Center, 221 First St. E.; Laura Strabala, (319) 560-1391.
— NewBo City Market “Just the Essentials Market” 5-7 p.m. Wednesdays and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays, beginning May 6, 1100 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids; (319) 200-4050, www.newbocitymarket.com
— Grinnell, 3-6 p.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays, (tentatively) June 4 through Oct. 24, Central Park, Broad Street and Fourth Avenue; Grinnell Chamber, (641) 236-6555.
— Gladbrook, 5-7 p.m. Thursdays, June through mid-October, Methodist Church parking lot, 715 Lincoln St.; Dana Brown, (641) 750-2219.
— Toledo, 5-7 p.m. Fridays, June 5 through October, east side of courthouse; Dawn Troutner, (641) 691-9710; firstname.lastname@example.org
— PENDING Washington, 5-7 p.m. Thursdays, June 4 through Oct. 15, online, pre-order system also available, Downtown Central Park, Washington Street and Iowa Avenue; Bob Shepherd, (319) 458-9396.
— PENDING Decorah, 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 8-11 a.m. Saturdays, June 3 through Oct. 31 (except during Nordic Fest, if held) lower parking lot behind Oneota Co-op, across from post office; Steve McCargar, (563) 382-2451; email@example.com