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Farmville farmer’s market to open Saturday

With Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive orders in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, many may be longing for the opportunity to get out of the house, get some fresh air and purchase some Virginia-grown produce.

The Farmville Community Marketplace will open for business Saturday, April 25, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.   

Market Manager Bob Stratton of the Farmville Community Marketplace said strict guidelines will be enforced as mandated by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).

“We will be spacing vendors farther apart than normal and making customer traffic through the market one-way instead of the normal browsing,” Stratton said. “We will try to limit how many customers can be at a vendor’s table at a time.”

According to Stratton, buyers will not be able to touch produce or other goods being sold. Vendors will be doing all the handling and packaging all while wearing gloves and masks.

Governor Northam’s Executive Order 53 which went into effect Tuesday, March 24, mandates that all dining and congregation areas in certain foodservice establishments, including farmer’s markets, must close to the public. Delivery and/or takeout services are still allowed.

The closure of dining areas and congregation areas within farmer’s markets does not mean that farmer’s markets must cease operation.

The restriction means that no food service may be allowed on site and other steps must be taken to eliminate congregation points and areas.

The governor’s office and the VDACS are not requiring farmer’s markets to close.

However, farmer’s markets should not be set up to allow onsite browsing.

According to Stratton the need to open the Farmer’s Market is essential.

“It is essential to the vendors that have produced their goods and products, to have an outlet to sell them,” Stratton said. “It is also essential to the customers that want to purchase locally- grown meats and produce.”

The market, which has been in operation for more than 10 years, averages 18 vendors each week.

Stratton says that on opening day, Saturday, April 25, there will be eight to 10 vendors on site.

The Farmville Community Marketplace is open each Saturday morning, from mid-April through early October. Shoppers will find locally-grown, in-season fruits and vegetables, homemade crafts, a variety of baked goods, granola and other delectable treats, handcrafted soaps, crocheted items, in-season bedding and potted plants, handcrafted and hand-painted wood signs, jewelry, grass-fed beef, lamb, chicken and eggs.

The market is located at 213 North Street, right in the heart of downtown.