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Ithaca Farmers Market: Opens for outdoor season as an essential grocery outlet

Winter market is over - which means this Saturday, April 4th, is the traditional “grand opening” date for the Ithaca Farmers Market outdoor season. While this year has been anything but ordinary so far, the Ithaca community can still count on the market for their Saturday groceries.

The market is scheduled to run on Saturdays in April at the Steamboat Landing pavilion, with shortened hours of 9am-1pm. The pavilion has 88 booths, but this month the vendor capacity will be capped at 40 - with vendors spaced out in every other booth. The shorter hours and the empty booths will allow more room for customers to navigate the shopping area with the suggested 6 feet distance between patrons.

Under Governor Cuomo’s "New York State on PAUSE" executive order, farmers markets are listed as essential businesses. With permission from Tompkins County Health Department, IFM has chosen to stay open to provide safe access to healthy food for the Ithaca community. The market has recently installed touch-less paper towel dispensers in bathrooms for a safer experience, as well as hand sanitizer stations around the building. They have also outlined on their website the “new guidelines” of market - including only sending one person per household, and not touching goods before purchase.

For the last two Saturdays in March, IFM ran their last winter markets outside - helping to work out kinks for vendors, staff and customers before this weekend. This Saturday customers can expect to find a variety of farm and food products such as meat, cheese, eggs, vegetables, fruit, honey, jelly, bread, wine, cider, baked goods, plants, soap and some prepared food. Eating on premise is not allowed at market during COVID-19, so all food will be sold packaged to go, to encourage later consumption - and to discourage people congregating.

Because artisans such as leather workers or potters are not classified as essential businesses - you won't find your favorite makers at market this weekend. The market will be posting about other ways to support this group of vendors - including shopping from their online stores. Customers can use the vendor directory, reach out via social media or sign up for the market’s e-newsletter for more info.

ATMs will not be open during market this month and EBT tokens will not be available. While some vendors still only accept cash, many are installing card readers or touch-less payment options to limit exposure.

Wondering if your favorite vendor is at market this weekend? Check out the Saturday Market Facebook event or Saturday Market webpage for an updated list around 10:30am on market day.


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