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Farmers Markets May Be Your Safest Bet for Food Shopping During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Njeri Harris likes to hold and feel the produce she buys regularly at the Clark Park Farmers Market, which operates year-round in West Philadelphia.

Farmers and food vendors at the market usually display their bounties for people passing by to smell and even try — fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, eggs, milk, mushrooms, baked goods and wine produced right here in Pennsylvania.

But with local and state regulations to make farmers markets safer during the coronavirus pandemic, now Harris has to point at what she wants from afar.

“What kind of greens are this? Are these dandelion greens?,” she asked from a line formed six feet away from a vendor’s produce table. “Can I have one, please?”

Farmer markets across the region are no longer hands-on. Samples, prepared foods and crafts are gone. Meandering from shop to shop while hanging out with a friend is a thing from the past. Most of the produce is pre-packaged, everyone is wearing masks and standing away from each other. In some markets you can only buy if you pre-order online.