Fresh vegetables. Photo courtesy of Pexels

Shopping Boulder County’s farmers markets during the pandemic


Be prepared: Things are going to look a little different this summer, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

And that extends to farmers markets, which typically involve crowds of tightly packed shoppers perusing the farm-fresh vegetables and handmade goodies from an array of vendors.

Of course, we all know that crowds are a recipe for disaster right now, so Boulder area farmers markets are making some changes to prevent the spread of the virus.

You’ll still be able to get delicious local food — don’t worry — but you’ll need to take some extra steps and precautions first.

The Boulder County Farmers Markets are introducing some new rules, guidelines and offerings this summer.

Curbside Pickup

For starters, the organization is continuing its online market called BCFM2G0, which allows customers to place orders on Wednesdays and pick up their items curbside at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont on Saturdays. After May 23, the Longmont pickup will likely move to a new day and location, so be sure to check the website for the latest information. Additional pickup locations will also soon be available in Boulder, Denver and Lafayette.

Opening Dates and Reservations

  • Boulder Saturday market: Opening May 23
  • Boulder Wednesday evening market: Opening date TBD
  • Longmont Saturday market: Opening May 30
  • Denver Union State Saturday market: Opening June 13
  • Lafayette Thursday market: Not opening this year; will become an additional curbside pickup location TBD.

Before you hop on your bike or in your car to head to the farmers market, you’ll need to reserve a 20-minute shopping time each week. There will be limited opportunities for people who do not make shopping reservations.

To make a reservation, you’ll visit an Eventbrite page for each market, select a date and time, then click “Register.”

Keep in mind that this is a new system and the time windows are merely estimates. The market is limiting capacity to 100 people at a time, so you may find that your designated shopping time is delayed if other shoppers take longer than expected. In other words, be patient.

The markets will also open 30 minutes early to serve at-risk shoppers — those over the age of 65 or the most susceptible to coronavirus. The special at-risk shopping time will be from 8 to 8:30 a.m.

The markets are also encouraging shoppers to pre-order items with specific vendors ahead of time, then pick up the items throughout the market during the designated shopping time. You can find a list of vendors accepting pre-orders on the BCFM website.

Also know that:

  • There will be no food samples.
  • The markets are asking customers to pay with credit cards only. Market bucks will not be allowed.
  • There will be no live music.
  • There will be no seating.
  • There will be no artisan shows or nonprofit booths.

New Market Guidelines

Before you shop at any of the Boulder County Farmers Markets, it’s important to spend some time reading through the new guidelines and expectations:

  • Make a reservation. Don’t just show up and expect to shop.
  • Pre-order as many items as possible directly from vendors so you can get in and out quickly.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Do not touch any of the produce or goods being sold at the market, unless they are yours and you’re taking them home with you.
  • Make a shopping list, study the market map and plan out your route ahead of time. Again, you’re trying to get in and out quickly.
  • Be sure to use the restroom before you leave home.
  • Leave your pets at home.
  • Only arrive at the market with one other person, maximum.
  • Wear your mask at all times. Masks are required to shop at the markets.
  • Wash your hands frequently. There are hand-washing and sanitizing stations at the markets.
  • Stand on the six feet social distancing marks throughout the market.
  • Follow the one-way flow of traffic.
  • Use your credit card to pay for your purchases. If you absolutely must use cash, bring small bills.
  • Eat before or after you shop; do not consume any food at the market.
  • Wash and disinfect all of your purchases after you arrive home.

Other Options

Outside of the farmers markets, many Boulder-area farms are offering their own curbside pickup, delivery and farm stand options.

  • For example, Cure Organic Farm is operating its farm stand at 7416 Valmont Road every day of the week (barring any changes). The farm stand offers seasonal vegetables, fresh flowers, eggs and other items.
  • Black Cat Farm is operating its farm stand seven days a week at 4975 Jay Road. The farm is also doing delivery with Mabel the farm truck. For a full list of neighborhoods and a delivery schedule, visit Mabel’s website.
  • Aspen Moon Farm is running its roadside farm stand at 7927 Hygiene Road in Longmont.

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