If battling crowded indoor grocery stores has you feeling down, here’s some good news: The Albany Farmers’ Market has been deemed as an essential service provider and will open on Saturday, April 18, However, be prepared for a few important operational changes, focused on keeping everyone healthy.
Location and facilities
In Albany, the Farmers’ Market is in the City Hall parking lot at 4th and Ellsworth and an adjacent slice of 4th Avenue. Portable restrooms will replace access to City Hall restrooms, since public buildings are closed.
Market shoppers can use features on www.locallygrown.org to search for particular vendors and view interactive maps showing the approximate location of vendors on each market day.
Hours for the Albany Farmers’ Market are 9 am to 1 pm.
How temporary safeguards will affect your market experience
Any activities that might tempt people to linger or stand closer than six feet apart have been suspended temporarily. This includes the normal musical or children’s entertainment. These measures will stay in place until the Governor’s Office institutes new action.
Open air and wide aisles are two factors that local farmers’ markets have going in their favor. But the market and our farmers and producers need full cooperation from customers to stay open and keep our community safe.
Market temporary dos and don’ts
Please follow the advice of the market’s organizers:
- Stay home if you feel the least bit unwell or have been near anyone who might have been exposed or who exhibits symptoms
- Wash your hands frequently – before coming to the market
- One shopper per household. Shop for others who should not go out
- Shop with your eyes and buy what you touch
- Shop for what you need, but don’t linger. This is difficult because farmers’ markets are such social places and we are drawn to chatting with our producers. But now is the time to keep your neighbor safe.
- Stay at least 6 feet away from other shoppers
- No eating at market. Order your food to go, do not eat your veggies or fruit while walking around.
- Thoroughly wash all produce and fruit when you get home. Clean any packages or transfer to your own containers for storage.
Other ways to get local food and support local businesses
Locally Grown’s web page has a new tab with a list of farms and other vendors who are doing online sales, delivery or pickup options. The purpose is to help local small farms and anyone who is not able to attend farmers’ markets. At the same time, the Albany and Corvallis Farmers’ Markets are collaborating on a statewide effort to adopt an online pre-order system with delivery at farmers’ market sites. The aim is to speed transaction times. In person sales will still take place.
SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks
Corvallis-Albany Farmers’ Markets (CAFM) and the smaller area farmers’ markets in Linn and Benton counties always redeem SNAP benefits (commonly called food stamps) on customers’ Oregon Trail cards. Matching programs, which potentially double the amount that SNAP customers spend on fresh and local foods, go a step further by helping families stretch their food dollars. CAFM will return to using Double Up Food Bucks vouchers. Even dollar amounts are matched. Normally the match is capped at $10 per market day. Through April, all Double Up markets are matching SNAP purchases up to $20.
Other nutrition programs
Another program that increases access to high-quality foods among low-income households is the Farm Direct Nutrition program, which includes both young families (WIC or Women, Infants and Children) and seniors. Gleaning groups also collect perishable produce from vendors and distribute to others in need.
Welcome back to all
We really hope that as we move forward with ways to shop fresh and local that you will consider shopping at our wonderful outdoor market in Downtown Albany. We will be back stronger than ever and look forward to celebrating with the vendors.
*Image of carrots and Camron Ridge Farmstand from our 2020 AVA Photo contest.