Colorado's farmers' markets are considered essential, so fresh local produce and goodies will still be available this year, but no samples. 

A normal May in Colorado is marked by the opening of farmers' markets offering fresh local goods, however, they'll look a little bit different. Farmers' markets are considered an essential business by the state, so they can open and operate as long as guidelines are in place. A few started to open up last weekend, and more plan to as the season gets underway.  

The Colorado Farmers' Market Association is working with farmers and markets to keep the season going for 2020, despite setbacks and challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Farmers' markets must adhere to guidelines, including the following:

  • Design and manage market layout to permit social distancing at all times. 
  • A limited number of customers shopping at a time. 
  • Markets need to ensure that customers, vendors, and market staff maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from each other at all times.
  • Farm and food products only. Vendors will be limited to those focusing on supporting critical agriculture business in the community; no artisans, crafters, performers, etc.
  • Customers must wear masks. 
  • Hand-washing/sanitizing stations.
  • No seating.
  • No samples.
  • Vendors will wear masks and gloves.
  • Reusable bags will not be allowed in some markets. 
  • Touchless and reduced-touch payment options when possible.
  • Online order ahead and curbside pickup options.

Recommendations for vendors and market managers can be found here. Several have pushed their openings to later in May or June as they work through the steps necessary to open and keep the community safe. 

Currently, there are a few markets open in metro Denver. You can find information on those through the Metro Denver Farmers' Markets website and Facebook page. You can also check out the Boulder Country Farmers' Markets website to see what specific markets and vendors are open.

farmers market vendor in mask
Courtesy of Metro Denver Farmers' Market (Facebook)

Although it may not be the same experience we're used to, farmers' markets connect the local farming and agriculture community with customers, bringing fresh local food and produce to our kitchen tables. It's an important part of our state, and hopefully, it will still be a thriving business this summer and fall.

Check with your local market to see if they are open, or have online ordering options available. And share your thoughts in the comments below.