Local farmers market operators are working to figure out how to connect sellers and buyers in a safe manner during the coronavirus pandemic.

The farmers markets in Canton, Woodstock and Ball Ground are popular with area residents throughout the spring and summer, giving shoppers the chance to purchase produce from local farmers. However, all three have developed, or are developing, alternate ways farmers can market their goods and sell fresh fruits, vegetables and other produce to their customers.

Woodstock Tourism Manager Kyle Bennett, who also manages the Woodstock Farm Fresh Market, said the decision was recently made to postpone the market’s start date from April 25 to May 16, although he said that date still remains subject to change based on the changing conditions.

“Secondly, we are just publishing a new page on our website http://visitwoodstockga.com/farmers/ for a Virtual Woodstock Farm Fresh Market,” Bennett said. “We wanted people to be able to get access to products from our Woodstock Farm Fresh Market vendors during the current situation. The site highlights vendors who have delivery and pick up options available. Great way for people to support the local vendors of the Woodstock Farm Fresh Market.”

Canton Downtown Development Manager Velinda Hardy said that, with the farmers market in Canton tentatively scheduled to open on May 9, those involved were watching to see where everything stands closer to this date.

“Once we know that information, it will be announced on the Canton Farmers Market, Downtown Canton and City of Canton Facebook pages, along with the City of Canton website,” Hardy said.

Although the Ball Ground Farmers Market is still attempting to figure out a course of action for this season, Josh Briggs, who runs the market with his wife, said they are looking into a different way patrons can still purchase goods from local farmers, while working to keep everyone safe and follow necessary precautions.

“We have thought about having a drive-through farmers market at our farm near downtown Ball Ground,” Briggs said, adding one reason for idea is that he believes people still want to buy locally grown and locally sourced food items when they can, and this would allow them to do so.

Along with having a drive-through market he is considering setting up at his farm, Briggs said that he might encourage others to do something similar at their own farms. Should this become a potential option for vendors who typically set up shop at the farmers market in Ball Ground, Briggs said he would announce this on its Facebook group page, “Ball Ground Farmers Market.”

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