As D.C. businesses work to operate under new guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic, the Dupont Circle farmer’s market has made some changes to promote social distancing while still providing fresh produce and giving back to those who need food the most.
“We are learning what it’s like to be a farmer’s market under a pandemic,” said Hugo Mogollon, executive director of FreshFarm, which operates the Dupont Circle farmer’s market. “We need to submit a plan every week and receive a waiver to operate the market.”
He said they’ve made some major changes to ensure that they’re keeping people apart but still providing fresh produce to the area.
They are encouraging preorders on their website they just launched, banning pets, wearing masks and gloves and cutting vendors that don’t sell food. Additionally, customers can’t touch the food and instead have to tell the vendors what they want and they will bag up their items.
“Farmer’s markets are under a lot of scrutiny and we are happy to work with the city to keep everybody safe and healthy,” Mogollon said.
While they have cut the number of vendors at the market to only food items, market deputy director Nony Dutton said they had one exception for this Sunday.
“Last night they said, ‘oh it’s Easter Sunday,’ there are a lot of preorders for flowers for folks so we have a one weekend exception to let the cut flower vendors come and sell,” Dutton said.
Mogollon said it’s key during this time for the community and for local farmers to keep the farmer’s markets open as everyone navigates the coronavirus pandemic.
“Supporting local food economy is important even in this time. what has been amazing is to see farmer’s and people adapting to the new situation,” Mogollon said.
They’re working to support those who are in need during the pandemic as well through their market.
FreshFarm prepared 550 bags of fresh produce on Sunday to be donated to those who need it most.
They are also matching all Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits.
The market is open Saturdays and Sundays in Dupont Circle from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.