WISCONSIN — Farmers Markets are considered essential businesses under the Safer at Home order. These markets give the community access to food and also allow Wisconsin farmers to sell their goods and connect with customers. But the feel of the markets will undoubtedly be different this season.
The West Allis Farmers Market has been taking place for over 100 years, and will open this Saturday as planned. But with new guidelines in place, the market will look much different than it has in the past. In addition to wearing a mask, plan on using your sense of sight, not touch, smell, or taste to pick out products.
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"The biggest thing for us is we're not going to be able to have samples like we used to," Brandon Ollhoff told TMJ4 News. Ollhoff will be set up at the West Allis market Saturday afternoon.
"Over 25 years we've come down and done markets here in the Milwaukee area," said Ollhoff.
The Ollhoff family has been producing maple syrup products for four generations. They're prepared to follow vendor guidelines put in place by the city.
"We're gonna wear gloves, and we're gonna change between each transaction with customers, we're also gonna wear face masks, so that's a big requirement, we're also gonna have a hand washing station, that's new for us," said Ollhoff.
The Fondy Farmers Market, located on Fond du Lac Avenue on Milwaukee's North Side, will also open for the season this Saturday morning.
"It's never been more important to ensure that we have healthy food access for our community," Jennifer Casey, Executive Director of the Fondy Food Center explained.
Casey's goal is to ensure that customers can purchase healthy food, while staying healthy themselves.
"We're asking people not to touch products unless they plan to purchase them or have already purchased them," said Casey.
The normal social aspect of the farmers market will be lacking. No shared seating areas will be set up, and purchased food cannot be consumed on site. Shoppers are being asked to complete their shopping quickly and efficiently. But while the experience will be a little different, Casey is looking forward to seeing the community come to the market.
"I think people will be happy to see fresh herbs and seedlings and flowers and hopefully some produce and other wellness products this Saturday," Casey said.
"This is an important time to support local businesses and farmers and understand where your products are coming from," said Ollhoff.
The bottom line, market organizers want to remind customers to be safe, be courteous, and come out and support your local farmers.