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Farmers Market offers online pick-up groceries as COVID-19 cases increase

Jaclyn Harold
Updated: March 21, 2020 07:40 PM
Created: March 21, 2020 07:15 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Some vendors at the local farmers market say their livelihood depends on the sales they get. But with COVID-19 cases increasing in the area safety has become a bigger concern.

"I try to get here when I'm not going to kids sporting events, and now that they're all canceled, I guess my Saturday mornings are open," said Ingrid Geske, an Oronoco resident who took advantage of the Rochester Farmers Market online ordering option on Saturday.

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There was already an online service for the Rochester Farmers Market, but staff said it was geared towards bulk items for restaurants and schools. With the recent closures of those consumers, the Rochester Farmers Market changed their services to accommodate all of their customers.

"You'll see as this person pulls up there's a number in their window of the invoice number that they have, so we see that number and we're able to go inside and pull the pre-packaged order that they have and bring it out to them, pull from the trailers what we need for the frozen dairy and eggs and bring it directly to their car.," said Mike Schmitt, the President of Friends of the Farmers Market.

Schmitt said the safety of customers and farmers is the markets priority, so as extra reinforcements, they added hand washing stations and sanitizer posts around the building. Staff change gloves every few transactions, and for anyone uneasy about coming inside, they can pick-up from their car.  

"It just allows them to be able to come in get what they need and then bring it back to their families or wherever they came from which is a wonderful thing because it allows not only for the customers to get the orders but it also allows for our farmers to be able to sell to them," said Schmitt, and that's one feature hes says the farmers don't disagree with.

Local produce farmer Andrew Serio hydroponically grows lettuce, tomatoes, and a number of other products that he usually sells to restaurants. With limited access to those buyers, Serio said he appreciates residents still making an effort to come out and shop.

"As a local producer, the amount of time that I put into my vegetables and stuff like that, yeah it's nice to be able to have people coming in and being able to buy from us," said Serio.

Rochester Farmers Market said they had over 100 online orders this weekend and they're expecting to top that in the weeks to come. 

"I love supporting the Farmes Market and the local businesses here, and right now it's really important to continue to do that and so the drive in option is just fabulous," said Geske.

for more information on how to order online, visits https://www.localline.ca/rochester-farmers-markets


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