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Bedford County farmers markets open in time for Virginia Farmers Market Week

April 29, 2020

With a renewed interest in buying local during COVID-19, displays at farmers markets will look a bit different as they are packed and ready for pre-order pickups.

Bedford County’s farmers market season kicked off this past week with Forest Farmers Market opening on Saturday, April 25, and the Bedford Farmers Market opening Friday, May 1. Customers are using pre-order methods and treading lightly but showing increased interest in buying local amid this COVID-19 pandemic. This week also marks Virginia Farmers’ Market Week in the Commonwealth (April 27 – May 3) and is an effort of Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) and Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) to support farmers who provide locally grown foods across Virginia.

Farmers markets provide important connections between agriculture producers and consumers. Farmers and specialty producers find markets to be a valuable sales channel for their products. These markets boost the local economy and provide direct support for agricultural crops.

“Consumers get to know local farmers and the health benefits of their products, and they develop long-term relationships for sourcing quality food for their family,” said Traci Blido, Director of Economic Development for Bedford County. “There’s an impressive multiplier effect on the community because these farmers shop at local retail and service establishments so the dollars stay local.”

While farmers’ markets are now opening in Virginia, they look a little different for the 2020 season start. COVID-19 has had an impact on farmers’ markets and their typical business models. In order to achieve social distancing requirements while continuing to serve as a valuable source of nutrition for the public, many markets have shifted to alternative sales methods. In Forest last weekend, more than 230 families were served through a pre-ordering method and pick up. The Bedford market will offer some of the same guidelines this Friday when their first market day opens for the season.

The Bedford Farmers Market begins its outdoor market season this Friday, May 1 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. and is held every Friday through October 9 at the Centertown Pavilion in Bedford. Many of the vendors are taking pre-orders. For more information, see their Facebook page @mybedfordmarket.

The Forest Farmers Market which began with a limited outdoor market on April 25 will begin to offer some on-site sales in addition to pre-orders on Saturday, May 9. The Forest market is held each Saturday through the end of October behind the Forest Library. For more information, visit ForestFarmersMarket.com.

The Markets are following VDACS guidelines for COVID-19 including:

  • A hand sanitizing station at entrance.
  • The sending of only one family member to the market.
  • Asking those who are sick or have a fever to stay home.
  • No pets allowed.
  • Get in and get out process – no lingering.
  • No handling of products.

Click here to learn more about the Farmers Markets and Bedford County’s Bedford Grown branding program for producers and restaurants.