ITHACA, N.Y. — For the last two weekends, the Ithaca Farmers Market (IFM) has been open, with some significant rule changes in place, to help serve the food needs Tompkins County residents during the COVID-19 outbreak that has paralyzed the world.

“Overall, it seemed like people got in, got the groceries, and went on their way, which is a success for us and our vendors,” said Laura Gallup, marketing and events coordinator for IFM. “This is totally uncharted territory for us — just like everyone else — but we feel proud and happy to be able to stay open and be a grocery outlet for our community. Many customers noted that the market felt much safer than crowded grocery stores.”

Saturday’s market was technically the last winter market of the season, which has been hosted by Triphammer Marketplace. IFM returned to Steamboat Landing for health and safety reasons. With the winter market consisting of about 30 approved vendors, market staff was able to space out the 15 vendors who participated throughout the pavilion. Only farm and food vendors were allowed to booth at these market events and not artisans. Vendors brought meat, cheese, eggs, veggies, fruit, jelly, honey, cider. The few food vendors had bread, pasta, granola and pastries all wrapped up in plastic.

Vendors were required to change their displays, with all items pulled back, so that customers were not able to touch things until they bought them. A 6-foot social distancing rule was in place and patrons were also encouraged to send only one person per household, to help limit the crowds.

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