Updated: Apr 17, 2020
On March 16, 2020, Governor Tim Walz issued an Executive Order closing restaurants, bars, and other public gatherings in Minnesota. This was followed by correspondence with Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen stating that farmers markets are considered grocery stores and are exempted from the order, provided they do not offer onsite consumption. Commissioner Petersen also encouraged markets to pursue drive through options, follow 6 feet social distancing, and offer hand washing.
Using the infrastructure set up by the Minnesota Farmers Market Hub project and supported by a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, the Rochester Farmers Market Association Board of Directors and Market Manager Jess Joyce chose to keep the indoor market open on March 21, while at the same time implementing a pilot drive thru and delivery option!
Following are links and photos from this pilot weekend! Rochester Farmers Markets was featured on three webinars in the weeks after running the the pilot drive thru and hosting two indoor markets during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Webinars / Info for Markets
March 31: Minnesota Farmers Market Association wrap-up of farmers market responses to COVID-19, Market Manager Jess Joyce presents at 41:00
April 6: Farmers Market Coalition - Farmers Markets Respond to COVID-19: Best Practices, Examples, and Resources, Market Manager Jess Joyce presents at 45:00
April 8: Renewing the Countryside hosts "Rochester Farmers' Market Pivots to Online Sales + Drive-Thru Pick-Up in the COVID-19 Era," an hour-long feature of our drive thru model detailing use of the platform Local Line, setup, and metrics from the first few weeks we've operated.
Post Bulletin: Rochester Farmers Market rolls out drive-thru service
These photos are from Post Bulletin photographer Joe Ahlquist