By Morgan Bryce
The farmer’s market at O Grows is returning on May 26 and will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. each Tuesday afternoon on the lawn in front of the Southside Center for the Arts throughout the summer until the end of August, weather permitting.
Dr. Sean and Susan Forbes help coordinate the market. Among the many food and produce items that will be for sale at the market will be baked goods, Chilton County peaches, honey, peppers, tomatoes, watermelons and more. Susan said many of the same farmers and vendors who have participated in years past will return, along with some new vendors.
“The thing I’m most proud of is that the market provides more accessibility for people to purchase fresh produce, particularly in that neighborhood. It’s within walking distance for a lot of folks in that immediate area,” Sean said in a 2019 interview with the Observer. “I dare any place to match the freshness of what’s offered here. This also makes a huge impact on our local economy and is one of the few places that is a direct-to-consumer system.”
Farmers markets are listed as “essential” during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Below are guidelines for both customers and vendors to follow during each market:
-Please be patient and follow new market rules during this time.
-Wash your hands for 20 seconds upon arrival at the market and frequently as you move throughout the space. They will have an increased number of hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer and all vendors are required to display hand sanitizer in each booth.
-Do not congregate between booths or in walkways.
-Maintain at least an arm’s length distance between other shoppers and vendors, especially while you are waiting in line.
-Do not greet anyone at the market with hugs or handshakes.
-Avoid touching your face.
-No hand-to-hand contact will be allowed between vendors and shoppers. Point to the product that you would like, allow the vendor to bag it and set it down on the table before you pick it up.
-Do not hand vendors payments directly. Place cash and credit cards on the table for vendors to pick up. Use Apple Pay or Venmo when available. If you are able, we encourage you to set up Apple Pay or Venmo on your smartphone before you arrive and use this as a payment method. If you do use this method of payment, please sanitize your phone before you arrive and after you leave the market.
-Anyone who is feeling unwell in any way should stay home.
-Any shopper who is at a higher risk, including individuals who are over 65 and/or with underlying health conditions, should stay home.
-Please refrain from bringing your dogs to the market during this time.
-Farmers, vendors and market staff should wear food grade gloves, with frequent changes as they become soiled or contaminated.
-Increase the numbers of handwashing stations available within the market, along with signage to encourage customers to frequently wash their hands.
-Encourage farmers to bring handwashing supplies and hand sanitizers for frequent use within their own booth space.
-Limit bare hand contact. No handshaking, no hugs. To the extent possible, limit customer handling of food products.
-Segregate duties behind market tables. Designate one individual to handle money, tokens and coupons, while others handle the products being sold. Again, wear food grade gloves with frequent changes.
-All foods should be pre-packaged to eliminate potential contamination at the market. Examples would be pre-packaging breads and baked goods.
-Farmers and vendors who are ill, or showing signs of illness, should stay home. Send a replacement to sell if they are not sick. If anyone within the farm business is confirmed infected with Covid-19, notify the manager and remain home.
-Farmers should be watchful of signs of illness in customers, removing all products they may have touched from their sales tables. Do not remove with bare hands.
-Suspend cooking demonstrations and sampling.
-Institute six to 10 feet of space between vendor booths where possible.
-No dogs are allowed at the farmers’ market unless they are service dogs as defined as follows: Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability. (emotional support dogs do not qualify).
Customers and vendors can follow O Grows’ social media pages for more information or call the Forbes’s at 334-744-1191 or 334-750-2215. The venue is located at 1103 Glenn St.