We received a lot of inquiries about how Alemany was operating during the shelter in place order (SIP) and so we wanted to share details. We visited the market on May 2, 2020.
While the traditional farmers market experience of taste testing, hand selection of produce, and sitting to eat a meal are not currently available at the market – the market continues to offer a wide variety of high quality, low cost produce. Those who come to the market, do so with patience, awareness, and an understanding of this current context.
The center parking lot was open for shoppers to allow for social distancing. The back parking lot was still open as well as parking along the south side.
Shoppers were lined up, six feet apart, at the farmers stall. Many stalls had markers on the ground directing shoppers of where to stand and line up. When they reached the front of the line, shoppers would point at which produce or products they would like to purchase. Some farmers were pre-bagging their produce. The farmer would then fill the order and tell the shopper how much was owed.
How did shoppers pay? Some farmers were accepting credit card payment but many were still accepting cash. Those paying with cash are advised to come with change or small bills to lessen the amount of exchanges.
Those who can were advised to go early or later in the day as the hours of 9am to noon are the busiest. The market opens at 6am and closes at dusk.
A rapidly growing number of EBT users were accessing the Market Match program, where they receive an extra $10 to spend on produce. Eat SF’s Vouchers 4 Veggies were also being accepted. Participations go to the building onsite to get tokens to spend.
While it is not the typical farmers market experience, shopping out in the open air, being able to purchase the amazing, low-cost produce from local farms was valuable experience.