Chef Tyler Simpson, the instructor at Butler Tech culinary program at D. Russel Lee, brings rising seniors to the Village Green Farmers Market in Fairfield once a month to prepare items purchased that day at the market. Samples of the food are given away to patrons at the market. They were at the June 19 market preparing various dishes. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Fairfield Farmers Market reopens for drive-thru, pre-paid orders

The Fairfield Farmers Market reopened for the 2020 summer season Wednesday, but the city is taking it slow.

The city of Fairfield had canceled and postponed various events due to the novel coronavirus as the disease rapidly spread across the state and country.

For now, only pre-paid orders will be taken from vendors online or by phone or email and be available for pickup as a drive-thru format between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday through May.

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“With this being our first one back, we wanted to take it slow and get it right the first time,” said Kari Russo, Fairfield Farmers Market manager.

Certified farmers’ markets were permitted to operate under the DeWine administration’s stay-at-home orders, but Fairfield put its market on hold as a precaution to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Many farmers’ markets have adopted the drive-through format, including in West Chester Twp. and Loveland, and the Oxford market has in-person vendors but social distancing and other safeguards have been put in place.

Farmers’ markets “serve a vital economic role,” according to a Brookings Institution report last month. The report indicates the markets “support neighborhood revitalization, incubate small businesses … and offer a uniquely local supply chain that directly benefits local economies.” Farmers who sell direct to consumers are likely to double the impact on the economy compared to non-direct sellers, according to a 2016 California-based study.

As the country is dealing with meat shortages due to the COVID-19 — USDA’s April 27 report showed beef production down nearly 25 percent year-over-year and pork production down 15 percent — the local supply is healthy.

“Farmers markets are about being local, and local food chain is alive and well,” said Russo. “We have local farmers in the area who have chicken and pork and sausage and bacon.”

Vendors will have seasonal produce, such as potatoes, asparagus, onions, and various types of greens and lettuces.

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The market will have one new vendor this year, Refreshing Springs Kombucha, which has six flavors of probiotic tea.

The Fairfield Farmers Market will continue its drive-through every Wednesday throughout May and will re-evaluate the process at the end of the month. For vendor contacts, visit www.FairfieldOH.gov/Market.

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