farmers markets

How has the role of farmers markets changed due to the coronavirus? The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has issued safety guidelines for vendors and customers during the pandemic. Many customers say they feel safer buying food at outdoor markets rather than inside grocery stores. 

This hour, we talk with market managers and vendors about how their operations have changed, and how customers are responding. Our guests:

CITY Newspaper file photo

On a typical summer Sunday morning, the Brighton Farmers Market is packed with shoppers. Live music pipes through the gaps between seniors and young couples carrying produce in reusable totes, families hauling kids in wagons, and dog owners navigating the crowd.

The market draws 50 vendors from across the region and the patrons, many of whom come from beyond the Brighton town line, eager to chat up the farmers, who often enthusiastically share recipes and plant care tips in return.

Rochester Public Market

Governor Cuomo announced a plan Friday to keep food stamps working at farmers markets across the state through the end of the season.

It’s the latest temporary measure in a summer that began with the only company that makes mobile software to convert electronic food stamps to physical currency abruptly announcing it was going out of business.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

A national farmers market association announced Thursday that it’s staving off the closure of the company that processes food stamp benefits at 40 percent of the farmers markets across the country, including the Rochester Public Market and hundreds of other markets in New York state.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

The company behind the software that turns SNAP benefits into the tokens used at the Rochester Public Market has announced that it’s going out of business.

Novo Dia contacted the Farmers Market Federation of New York last week, alerting the organization that it would cease operations on July 31, and leaving markets across the state scrambling to find a replacement.

The company’s software is essential because there is no substitute, said Margaret O’Neill, who directs programs at the Rochester Public Market and sits on the board of the farmers market federation.

We’re talking Farm to Fork in Rochester with a new collaboration among the Public Market, the Westside Market, and the South Wedge Market. The goal is to promote the markets – and local food – more directly surrounding the markets. Ideally, this brings in more people of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. We'll dive into this new collaboration with our guests:

What are the impact of farmer's markets in our region. Many have sprung up recently, allowing farmers to sell their goods across the region. We brought in a bushel of guests to talk about the markets in our region, including: