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Chicago Area Farmers Markets in 2020

Chicago Area Farmers Markets in 2020
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  • Chicago Area Farmers Markets in 2020

    Post #1 - May 17th, 2020, 12:22 pm
    Post #1 - May 17th, 2020, 12:22 pm Post #1 - May 17th, 2020, 12:22 pm
    Mods, feel free to move to another thread if more appropriate, but this isn't about CSA's or one individual market, like the popular Evanston Market thread.

    If our small midwestern farmers don't have enough challenges, now they have to deal with rules that grocery stores don't have to follow.

    Why can grocery stores have produce out in bins, as they always have, yet it seems most farmers markets will not allow you to select your own produce? It will already be bagged/portioned in advance, or the employees will do it when you place your order. The markets are there for a few hours, with everything gone when the market closes. The grocery store bins are never emptied and continue to have new stuff added (solera style) to what's been in the bins for days, weeks, who knows? I could be wrong, but there hasn't even been evidence of cases of COVID 19 originating from a fresh produce market. If I'd be worried about a food source it would be fresh meat, but no rules here.

    Then there are the other multiple rules: one family member only, only one direction (tough for you forgot something, or wanted to see what all of the farmers have before committing), and whatever rules are made up that grocery stores do not have to abide by.

    Why are most of the markets not open yet, even though the farmers have produce to sell now, and grocery stores have never been closed? Many of these family farms were selling to restaurants, who now are ordering a small fraction of what they did, yet the produce still needs to be sold and eaten.

    How about flower farmers? What is the harm to allow them to sell at a farmers market, even if it is a separate area?

    I do understand the severity of preventing more cases of COVID, but there sure are a lot of variable in the way the government is handling this. If our nation needs any industry to be able to survive, it sure is the farmers growing our food, yet we seem to make it harder for them to survive economically than large corporations, of which many aren't even as essential as the food we eat.

    Yes, farmers markets in 2020 can't be the social gatherings that they have been, but aren't we going too far?

    Sorry for the rant, but our country doesn't do nearly enough to support the family farms that work so hard to provide us great food.
  • Post #2 - May 17th, 2020, 1:22 pm
    Post #2 - May 17th, 2020, 1:22 pm Post #2 - May 17th, 2020, 1:22 pm
    I agree with everything you stated (because it's factually correct). The dissonance between common sense regulation for the benefit of consumers and more equity across a greater number of producers, and what we actually have, takes a toll on consumers who want spend their money in a way that is consistent with their values. It doesn't matter whether you're right, all that matters is if you've got industry lobbyists who frame the purpose of potential regulations on your side.
  • Post #3 - May 17th, 2020, 2:00 pm
    Post #3 - May 17th, 2020, 2:00 pm Post #3 - May 17th, 2020, 2:00 pm
    Gotta be careful when pointing fingers here. Most of these rules are created and enforced by local municipalities, so there is no uniform policy covering "Chicago Area" farmers markets. The differences and disparities simply reflect the differences between how various entities are handling things.

    For example, Chicago has been very adamant about farmers markets not opening yet. Kind of makes sense, given the population density, etc. In any case, as some markets that normally occupy public space in Chicago have considered moving to private property, they've been informed by the City that this approach will not be looked upon favorably down the road. Otoh, many suburbs, villages and towns plan to go ahead with their markets (or already have), implementing a variety of differing safety protocols.

    The bottom line is there is no uniformity when it comes to "Chicago Area" farmers markets because each municipality is making its own decisions.

    =R=
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  • Post #4 - May 17th, 2020, 2:59 pm
    Post #4 - May 17th, 2020, 2:59 pm Post #4 - May 17th, 2020, 2:59 pm
    Hi- Actually the farmers that have CSA's are reporting the best season they have ever had. Yes they let you select your own at the grocery store, but most grocery stores limit the number of people shopping at any one time, and the aisles are supposed to be one way only, although not everybody pays attention to that. I have mostly gone to Jewel and Whole Foods for the stuff such as milk and bread that I don't get at the farmer's markets. When I go to Jewel, I try to do the social distancing, and last Wednesday when I went to the Green Bay Wilmette store, I went down most of the aisles strictly so I would not be going the wrong way. When I go to Jewel, I try to go with a list, and I try to spend as little time as possible in the store. I used to spend hours looking for bargains or looking for the perfect pineapple. I don't do that anymore. I don't touch the produce any more than I have to, or anything for that matter. I just don't feel comfortable at Jewel right now, but I am not willing to do pickup or instacart, There are too many screw ups with those options.

    A Facebook deals group that I post on a lot called mashupmom, I have posted about the Evanston market and the precautions they are taking, and several people there said they have no business opening. One of them said if they did drive up like Kankakee is doing right now, then maybe they could open. One market tried drive up though, and cars were backed up for two hours to get into the market. The person who lives near Kankakee and promotes the drive up, has an 82 year old mother who lives in Evanston, and her mother enjoys going to the Evanston market. The daughter has forbidden the mother from going to the market because it is not safe, even after I told her that they were opening up 30 minutes early for seniors. I asked the daughter where the mother buys her groceries right now and she said Instacart. The only time I would miss picking out my own stuff is during corn season and maybe melon season, but I do get frustrated with those shoppers who are super fussy about their corn, and strip it to death. Most of the time when I get corn, I do not even open it up. I just pinch the end to see how mature the corn is. If I get home and find a wormy end, I just cut it off, and eat the rest of the cob.

    There are a lot of people here that will not set foot inside a grocery store because they do not consider it safe. Concerning the one way at the Evanston farmer's market, that is not policed, and a third of the farmer's are outside the square, and they just implemented a policy where if you decide to go to your car to drop off a load, or go to one of the farmer's outside the square, you can ask for a ticket when you leave the square which allow you to reenter the square without getting back in line. I think they are trying to work out the kinks right now, and hopefully when we get into stage 3, some of the requirements can be loosened. Most markets are following the guidelines suggested by the state. Hope this helps, Nancy
  • Post #5 - May 17th, 2020, 3:00 pm
    Post #5 - May 17th, 2020, 3:00 pm Post #5 - May 17th, 2020, 3:00 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:In any case, as some markets that normally occupy public space in Chicago have considered moving to private property, they've been informed by the City that this approach will not be looked upon favorably down the road.
    This made me want to throw up. Either pass/enact an explicit law or rule, or don't. This is political extortion. I think farmers would win in the court of public opinion if they publicized this through the media. If they have a sense of solidarity they could vow to pull out of all Chicago markets collectively in retaliation. The political threat would be a horrible look for Lightfoot. Farmers need to prove the city needs them, more than they need the city.
  • Post #6 - May 18th, 2020, 7:53 pm
    Post #6 - May 18th, 2020, 7:53 pm Post #6 - May 18th, 2020, 7:53 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:HI,

    Highland Park has a second longstanding farmers market in the Ravinia district in the park at Roger Williams and St. Johns Avenues. It is every Wednesday from 7 AM until 1 or 2 PM.

    Ravinia market opens on June 3. Priority shopping 7am-8am. General public 8am-2pm.

    Touchless payments or exact cash preferred (no change will be given with cash purchases)
    Congregating is not permitted
    Attendance limited to one person per household
    Only service dogs permitted
    Touching produce or products, or hand-to-hand contact is not permitted
    Hand sanitizing stations will be provided
    One-way traffic
    Pre-order and pre-pay for onsite pickup
    http://www.raviniafarmersmarket.com
    Last edited by Dave148 on May 28th, 2020, 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #7 - May 19th, 2020, 7:58 am
    Post #7 - May 19th, 2020, 7:58 am Post #7 - May 19th, 2020, 7:58 am
    Out in the west burbs, it looks like the Wheaton Farmers Market opened up 5/16 and will be open with all vendors as of 6/6, following social distancing guidelines, state regs, etc.
  • Post #8 - May 20th, 2020, 6:25 pm
    Post #8 - May 20th, 2020, 6:25 pm Post #8 - May 20th, 2020, 6:25 pm
    Dave148 wrote:
    Cathy2 wrote:HI,

    Highland Park has a second longstanding farmers market in the Ravinia district in the park at Roger Williams and St. Johns Avenues. It is every Wednesday from 7 AM until 1 or 2 PM.

    Ravinia market opens on June 3. Priority shopping 7am-8am. General public 8am-2pm. Touchless payment offered. Exact change preferred.

    Good to know; thanks.

    I'm not clear on how much safer "exact change preferred" is for the vendor than making change, although I can see how it's safer for the buyer. It seems to me that "exact change preferred" would be safer for the vendor if the vendor observed the buyer dropping the exact payment in cash into a jar that then didn't get touched for a few days.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #9 - May 20th, 2020, 9:49 pm
    Post #9 - May 20th, 2020, 9:49 pm Post #9 - May 20th, 2020, 9:49 pm
    Hi- Most of the farmer's markets are using guidelines made by the Illinois Farmer's Market Association, and this is one of their recommendations. I think it speeds thing up too, so people do not spend as long checking out. In Evanston it is confusing because one of the farmers only takes cash, another farmer takes credit if you have $50 in sales, and otherwise he charges an additional 10%, and another farmer prefers his customers charge the transaction, but he will take cash if you give him the exact amount, and if you do not have the exact amount, the amount you overpayed, is donated to the LINK matching funds program at the end of the day. Some other farmer's will give you change back if you pay with cash. The person who charges the extra 10% I buy asparagus from. I will have to go to the drive up bank a few blocks from the market, and get lots of small change.

    Back in March right before everybody went into lock down, I was in the Winnetka Book Stall, and I saw a sign posted asking people to pay with their credit/debit card instead of cash.
  • Post #10 - May 21st, 2020, 7:00 am
    Post #10 - May 21st, 2020, 7:00 am Post #10 - May 21st, 2020, 7:00 am
    I thought 1st Orchards had a sign saying you could pay with Venmo too, which doesn't have a fee, so unlikely there's the same 10% surcharge.

    I understand the embrace of credit cards for businesses with low volume but high average purchases. It also makes sense for bars because it speeds up service and facilitates more impulse spending. But overall, it's just waiving goodbye to 2-3% of your revenue. At a farmers market where they don't even issue receipts for cash payments, it seems insane to force it. I want these farmers to undercount sales and save some on taxes. As far as Henry donating excess cash, seems like the only way they could do that is if they had a person logging the cost of items sold in cash, so they could donate the excess, and I didn't see that. Just making change would be a better use of that labor.
  • Post #11 - May 21st, 2020, 11:20 am
    Post #11 - May 21st, 2020, 11:20 am Post #11 - May 21st, 2020, 11:20 am
    That explains why the the market manager said that Jon did some Venmo transactions. I assume it is like apple and google pay. I don't have any of those. All I know is that Henry's sister when she sold plants almost two weeks ago, she said that she was not giving out change, and was donating the excess money, and I assume Henry is doing the same. But with Teresa the great majority of her customers preordered their plants, and I am sure not that many payed with excess cash with they did buy them there. I spent $42 on plants that day, and so I was glad she took credit. But like I said before the guidelines put out by the Illinois Farmer's Market encourage paying with credit card or exact change. Teresa is going to be there again this Saturday, but if you did not preorder you will have to pay $6 per plant instead of $4.50. Henry did sell out I assume most people charged there purchase. I am not sure if he is going to be there this Saturday. On the 30th his CSA starts.

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