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Santa Barbara - South County
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Farmers Markets do things differently in the time of COVID-19

flower grower
Tracy Lehr / KEYT


A musician who goes by Salvador played his guitar for a smaller crowd at the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market on Tuesday afternoon.

Many of its usual customers appear to be staying home.

Growers with tents along State St. said they are are well aware that crowded markets have been temporarily suspended in Los Angeles until they can come up with a plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Tom Shepherd, of Shepherd Farms, said they have added hand washing stations on each block and have posted signs to remind people to practice social distancing. There are also no samples.

"It is disturbing and understandable at the same time. We are really trying to be conscious about how we manage the market."

But it is hard not to say hello when people see someone they know.

People worried about too much socializing said that isn't going to make the coronavirus go away.

Francesca Hunter is a regular customer and she is adamant about spreading the word.

" There are gonna be one or two people that could make us lose the market, which is stupid."

Customers who don't want to risk getting the virus may pre-order fresh produce from Farm Cart Organics. Customers just pick up their boxes they have already paid for online at Dune Coffee Roasters, about a block from the market.

Flowers are still in demand especially with Easter and Mothers Day on the way.

Erik Van Wingerden made bouquets to make it easier to grab and go.

"I think that we will be okay i think this could be even better than the grocery store because it is open air, more space to move around," said Van Wingerden.

Shoppers consider all of the items they selected to be essential to their health at a time when they want to keep their immune systems strong.

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor of NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here

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