Certain food options have become scarcer during the outbreak of COVID-19. The Between the Rivers Farmers Market is looking to try and fix that.
Founder Elisabeth Lawson and her team will start their second year of hosting the market at Bridgepoint Plaza on Saturday from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. with vendors and local farms bringing their crops and homemade wares to downtown Rome.
The weekly event will have a different look as organizers keep safety in mind, but there will be the same fresh produce and locally-sourced food found in the past.
“It seems like a strange time to do it, but the fact is all farms are an essential business,” said Lawson, who owns Rise ‘N Shine Organic Farm with her husband. “We have continued going to the markets in Atlanta that are open year-round, so we’ve had that as a model to see how to successfully do a market during the current COVID crisis.”
Lawson said it is all a part of the balancing act that other businesses face — keeping people safe while still providing an essential service.
They have put a lot of information on their website — btrfarmersmarket.org — concerning safety precautions and new ways to get items at the market. These include having only one person per family get out, wearing a mask, sanitizing hands at a station set up at the entrance, and practicing social distancing.
The market will also be a no-touching zone. Customers can tell vendors what they want and the vendors will get it for them. Curbside delivery will also be an option for people who preorder items through the links to the different vendors on the market’s website.
“We’re trying to provide something for everybody that allows it to be a contactless experience, but also give people the option if they want to get out, say hi to the farmers, and see the vendors,” Lawson said.
While they don’t want people to stay a long time, Lawson understands that having some sense of normalcy during this time can be an important thing for so many people.
“This is just as much for the farmers as it is for the community to see each other. After all of us have been in isolation for so long, we’re ready to see some familiar faces and bring us back together in a safe format,” Lawson said.
In addition to Rise ‘N Shine, the market will also feature Carlton Farm from Rockmart and Sapelo Farms from Silver Creek. Other vendors include Bella Vita Mushrooms, Sunflour Community Bakery and Riverview Farms. Swift & Finch Coffee will be set up to sell beverages as well.