As Tennessee responds to the COVID-19 outbreak, farmers markets are doing their part to supply customers with fresh, local foods. Markets across the state are working to relieve pressure on food distribution channels, while taking safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus. It is not believed that COVID-19 is spread through food. However, those who manufacture or sell food should take steps to prevent the spread between food handlers and customers.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture offers information and tips for food handlers online and in the attached document. “Despite the crisis, Tennessee’s farmers continue to produce safe, fresh, local foods,” Commissioner of Agriculture Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “Farmers markets are an ideal source for fresh vegetables, meats, and food products and are vital to our local communities and economies.” Following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Pick Tennessee Products’ farmers markets are sharing best practices to minimize the risk of illness. These tips may help market managers decide when and if to open, and help markets ensure the safety of vendors and customers.
Customers should contact a farmers market before visiting to confirm the market is open. Some markets are enabling customers to place advance orders to minimize time spent at the market. Find a farmers market near you online at www.picktnproducts.org and through the free PickTN mobile app.