An online store for the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market will complement the market and is set to start taking orders soon. (Pixabay)

Vancouver Island farm markets migrating to online platforms

Deemed essential services, many continue to operate in-person with social distancing

Anyone who loves fresh local farmers’ market veggies can still get them.

Vancouver Island farmers’ markets are moving online even as they continue operating in-person through a shield of social distancing.

The Comox Valley Farmers’ Market, for example will soon have a new online tool for shoppers to purchase local products from the comfort of their home.

CVFM general manager Twila Skinner said she is currently in the process of building an online store to complement the market, which was recently moved to the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds every Saturday throughout the spring and summer.

“During COVID-19, it is a solution to help,” she noted and added the online store is another tool for customers to access fresh, local food.

ALSO READ: Vancouver Island farmers’ markets allowed to continue for now

ALSO READ: B.C. farmers markets restricted to food sales only due to COVID-19

Amid the coronavirus, markets are allowed to be open, as they are considered an essential service. Skinner said the Comox Valley market has implemented several temporary safeguards, such as hand-washing stations and is restricting the number of customers. 

“We are following the provincial health officer’s recommendations, but things change day by day, and we do what we’re told.”

Skinner said the online store could encourage people who do not want to come together in-person to have options for pick up or delivery of local goods.

She added while not every vendor will be able to offer their products through the online store, a “good portion” should be available. As the weeks go on, she hopes more vendors will join.

Meanwhile, the Esquimalt Farmer’s Market and the Moss Street Market, two of Greater Victoria’s staples, will proceed with slight variations to accommodate COVID-19 requirements.

“We had a great turn out at Moss Street Market today,” read a recent Moss Street Market Facebook post. ” Vendor stalls further apart. Only one customer at a time at a stall. Customers not allowed to touch items. Chalk marks 6’ apart for social distancing in queues.”

Similarly, the Esquimalt Farmer’s Market will begin its weekly outdoor Thursday night events on April 2, at the Memorial Park at 1230 Esquimalt Rd. Organizers ask attendees to only send one member of the family for shopping, to not touch anything before it’s paid for, to pre-arrange orders when possible, to maintain a fair distance from other people and to preferably pay with cards.

ALSO READ: BC Farmers Markets move to online platform amid COVID-19 concerns

On March 27 the BC Association of Farmers Markets (BCAFM) announced that it will be encouraging markets to pursue an online model. As of the same day, both the Moss Street Market and Esquimalt Farmer’s Market are scheduled to go ahead, with some of their vendors considering moving online.

Moss Street also launched an online option for shoppers, which can be found here.

The online CVFM store is set to begin shortly; Skinner said to follow their social media outlets or for the exact opening date and more information.

— with Black Press files

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