Customers adjusting to the new normal at Concord farmers market

Customers adjusting to the new normal at farmers markets
Due to coronavirus restrictions, farmers markets vendors and customers are practicing social distancing.

Summer is here, and farmers are harvesting corn and tomatoes while beginning to plant fall crops.

The Concord farmers market continues to supply good wholesome fruits and vegetables, even in the midst of a pandemic. We are looking for the light at the end of the tunnel as safety guidelines ease, but we remain vigilant in protecting customers and farmers.

Farmers markets have evolved, albeit temporarily, to become more of a service rather than an event. Now, customers can purchase produce and other local products and leave quickly.

Customers vary in their degree of enthusiasm to the changes, though they still love to get their produce from local farms.

“I’m pleased that everyone is following the safety rules. It makes me feel more comfortable about shopping here,” said one Concord customer.

Safety protocols include no sampling or touching of produce, mask requirements, rearrangement of booths and social distancing.

“I don’t like the fact that I can’t pick up the produce and touch it before buying it, but I understand why it’s done this way,” another shopper from the Concord market stated. “It doesn’t keep me from shopping here.”

Farmers are especially thankful for this direct-to-consumer approach and appreciate the support from the local community. They are seeing a slow and steady increase in customers who favor local produce, with many repeat customers each week.

It has been a difficult adjustment for farmers in the last few months. Not being able to sell at farmers markets was hard on their bottom line, but the outlook is improving as more markets open.

“It’s good to see customers coming back each week to pick up their produce. More are coming back every week, and that’s important to my family,” said a farmer at the Concord farmers market.

Complicated transition

The transition has also been somewhat complicated for market managers.

“It’s been a new experience, that’s for sure,” said Concord farmers market manager Niki Fernandez. “There are so many things to remember to do, while also watching the entire market to make sure everyone is sticking to all the safety rules. I’m lucky because our customers are the best.”

Since the Concord farmers market has reopened at a different location at Concord High School, Fernandez has had to rearrange booth setup, cajole, encourage and restrict both farmers and customers to ensure social distancing, while also keeping up with the ever-changing state and county safety requirements.

Please continue to support your local farmers market during a time when we need to invest in local farms so they will be here for us in the future. The stronger local farmers are, the better off the local food supply chain will be.

Now in season: Stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, pluots, apriums) from Diaz Farms in Fowler and J&J Ramos Farms of Hughson; tomatoes and bell peppers from C&M Farms from Watsonville; cucumbers (pickling, Persian, English) from FT Fresh in Fresno; sweet corn from G&S Farms in Brentwood; and green beans, summer squash and eggplant from J&M Farms in Hollister.

Peach Salsa

  • 6 peaches, peeled, pitted, diced
  • 1 lb. tomatoes, diced
  • ½ medium red onion, diced
  • ¼ c. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1-3 jalapeno peppers, depending on heat you like, seeds removed, finely diced
  • Juice of 2 to 3 limes, depending on acidity of the peaches and tomatoes
  • Salt to taste

Toss all ingredients except lime and salt in a bowl. Add salt and lime, tasting as you go. Chill for an hour or two, or enjoy at room temperature.

The Concord Farmers Market is open Tuesdays, 9am – 2pm. The first hour is dedicated for seniors (60+) and others that may be at a greater risk during the pandemic. Temporarily moved to Concord High School, 4200 Concord Blvd., Concord, CA. For more information on the Concord market or other East Bay Farmer’s Markets, visit