Market shopping during COVID-19: how and why to support local right now
With the opening of the West End and Mt. Pleasant Markets this weekend, Vancouverites will have two more places to shop direct with local farms and producers during COVID-19. And while it’s no secret that the summer markets are very different from the relaxed, community gatherings they were pre-pandemic, it’s now more crucial than ever to support our farmers through this difficult time.
This week, we’re sharing some important reasons – and some helpful tips! – to continue shopping at the markets during the COVID-19 pandemic:
More than 250 small farms and food businesses rely on Vancouver Farmers Markets for their livelihoods; with the closure of restaurants, hotels, and other food businesses, many of our vendors have few or no other places to sell. Some have even reported that a large percentage of their crops are going to waste this spring, as other sales channels remain closed.
There’s no shortage of food
The spring season is off to a great start, and many of our farmers have told us they are going ahead as usual with their seasonal planting. Market stalls are beginning to fill with spring crops like salad greens, asparagus, and rhubarb, and an abundance of local food will be available as we move into the summer months.
It’s much easier to physically distance when you’re shopping for food outdoors. Plus, fresh air and sunshine are definite side benefits.
Don’t let line-ups deter you
We’re all pretty used to line-ups by now, but it can be frustrating when you arrive at your fave market and find a long one. Rest assured that they’re not as bad as they look! Our team members have been keeping track and here’s what we’ve found:
Riley Park – 5-10 mins. maximum wait time throughout the day.
Trout Lake – average maximum wait time: 25 mins. between *9:30am-11am, 10-15 mins. most other times throughout the day.
Kitsilano – average maximum wait time: 30 mins. between *10:30am-12pm, 10-15 mins. most other times throughout the day.
HOT TIPS: come a bit later in the market day to avoid the longest wait times, and consider pre-ordering through VFM Online Orders to secure high demand goods.
*Please note: we are still reserving the first 30 mins of each market day for seniors (65+), people with mobility challenges, and others most vulnerable to COVID-19. We will not turn anyone away that is still in line at the close of market day (2pm).
Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk can be a great way to cut back on trips to the market, and save you some dollars. Many of our prepared food vendors offer discounts on cases, and some farmers offer flats of fruits and veggies at discounted volume prices. It’s always best to request them direct from the vendor before market – use our Vendor/Produce Search Tool to find what you’re looking for.
Pre-order to save time
Our new ordering platform, VFM Online Orders, enables you to browse a real-time product list from our vendors, place orders directly with each vendor, and pre-pay for your shopping bag before you head to the market. Find out if VFM Online fits your shopping needs on our info page.