Why the West Seattle Farmers’ Market WILL be open this Sunday

After the question came up in a WSB comment discussion earlier today, we called West Seattle Farmers’ Market management to verify they WILL be open on Sunday. Since then, they’ve sent this news release saying all markets will indeed be open this weekend, and explaining why:

Farmers Markets in Seattle will continue as planned this weekend, including the University District, West Seattle, and Capitol Hill Farmers Markets, run by the nonprofit Neighborhood Farmers Markets, and the Ballard Farmers Market, run by the Seattle Farmers Market Association. The markets offer year-round economic opportunity to over 200 Washington State farmers and local food businesses, and also provide access to fresh nutritious food in local settings.

According to annual data collected by the Neighborhood Farmers Markets, the majority of their direct-to-consumer farm businesses earn 70% or more of their household income from the farmers markets. Only some businesses have secondary sales channels such as wholesale or restaurant purchasing, so a downturn in attendance will likely take a toll during a month when many farmers are making significant purchases for the upcoming growing season.

“It is important that everyone understand farmers markets are a place to buy nutritious local food, not a social event,” says Jennifer Antos, Executive Director of the Neighborhood Farmers Markets. “As an organization based in community connection, our top priority is the health and wellness of market shoppers, vendors, and our staff.” Farmers markets work closely with King County Public Health to ensure safety and cleanliness throughout the year. In the wake of concern over COVID-19 in King County and guidance that large gatherings be postponed, market organizers have been proactively consulting on additional measures, and are voluntarily implementing the following to help prevent the spread of illness.

• Public handwashing stations will be available for shoppers;

• Customary cancellation fees are not being charged to any vendor who cancels due to illness or concern over public contact;

• Handwashing posters and public health information will be posted;

• Cooking demonstrations, public seating, and special events within the market have been cancelled to reduce close proximity gathering and increase available supplies for handwashing stations;

• A zero-tolerance policy for market staff or vendors who attend the market if they are experiencing illness;

• Everyone is cooperating to ensure cleanliness of “high touch” items and areas, such as card readers and touch screens.

Alessandra Gordon, owner of Ayako and Family and longtime vendor at the U-District and Ballard Farmers Markets stated, “Health and safety is important – know and trust that the small food businesses and farmers in your area are continuing best practices.”

“It’s a tricky situation in that farmers markets are public gatherings.” says Colleen Donovan, Executive Director of the Washington State Farmers Market Association, “Farmers markets bring people together precisely to promote health through good food and community, so public health is always top of mind. And they are also places of business and the embodiment of local supply chains for healthy food which is always important and even more so now.”

The market happens in the street on California SW between SW Oregon and SW Alaska, 10 am-2 pm Sundays.

23 Replies to "Why the West Seattle Farmers' Market WILL be open this Sunday"

  • Jtk March 6, 2020 (6:57 pm)

    Putting up posters and telling people to wash their hands Is like having a restraining order against someone and when they show up you throw the paper at them because the police can’t come fast enough.   People should be washing their hands anyway.  It’s sad we have to tell grown adults to do that.   Following the department of health saying avoid gatherings where people are within 6 feet of each other.   Washing your hands is only one element.   Telling people that are sick to stay home is not enforceable.  Especially if they don’t know if they actually have the virus or not.   All of this is not a good idea.  Period.   A lot of business are sadly suffering. Even dog walkers are losing money because all of the people that work at tech companies are being forced to work at home so they can walk their own dogs.  So yes people are losing income in many industries.    It’s completely selfish to allow these markets to happen by putting everyone at risk.  No one knows the incubation period and it more than likely differs from person to person.  So saying don’t come to the market if your sick.  Does nothing.  

    • Will March 6, 2020 (8:28 pm)

      I’m so so glad it’s going to be open.  This unhelpful hysteria has got to stop.  If everyone hides in their basements petrified chugging purell for the next six months we will get the exact same outcome as if people stay sane and practice some extra hygiene.An outdoor neighborhood farmers market is not the same thing as something like a massive shoulder to shoulder concert indoors.

      • Jtk March 6, 2020 (10:02 pm)

        you went to the other extreme.  Hoarding and guzzling hand sanitizer.   Honestly.  I understand we have to live our lives.  But being cautions right now is better than not.  They are closing church services on Sunday and a lot of other venues where people aren’t shoulder to shoulder.  They are being cautious.  Until you or someone you know is sick or could possibly get sick you won’t understand you will think there is nothing wrong and you will be the one that spreads it around unknowingly.   Then maybe you will be a little more respectful about others and their well being.  I’m sorry that people are losing money and this is their livelihood.  I get it.  I don’t want to see anyone crumble.  But caution and staying away from gatherings as not to spread infection (since no one knows really how it’s spread exactly or how long it starts on surfaces etc) it’s the right and smart thing to do. 

  • Jess March 6, 2020 (7:19 pm)

    The problem is that a lot of sick people don’t seem to care. Today I saw a man pushing a baby stroller. He had both hands on the stroller, and was coughing directly on the baby without making any attempt to cover his mouth. He must have coughed 10 times in the few minutes I watched him. He went into the library, I presume to cough on books and employees, and I decided I didn’t need to pick up my books after all.

    • Neighbor March 7, 2020 (12:46 pm)

      Can we not judge people for coughing? My family has had a head cold for a month. We all still have a lingering cough. Are we supposed to stay inside despite having no fevers or other symptoms? You don’t know if this guy had seasonal allergies or if he is getting over a common cold. Yeah coughing without covering is gross. But so is your judgment.

  • I💗Farmers March 6, 2020 (7:19 pm)

    I will be there spending my money to ensure these community members can pay their bills and live the life they work so hard for. I am healthy, I do not have a compromised immune system. The economic impact of this on brick and mortar retail and restaurants is not lost on me and I am trying to spend more than usual to lessen the impact since those that can’t, due to health concerns, aren’t able.

  • Blbl March 6, 2020 (8:20 pm)

    Classic – don’t tell me what to do, I know better. Same mentality as the anti-vaxers. Totally irresponsible. I don’t trust anyone who can’t even keep a dog from slobbering all over the produce. 

    • Toogood March 6, 2020 (10:54 pm)

      Tell me about it! 

  • Spencer March 6, 2020 (8:22 pm)

    Glad to see the market will remain in operation and what a great educational announcement. 

  • WGA March 6, 2020 (8:54 pm)

    From what I have learned, transmission is more likely to occur in an enclosed space like a home, office, yes, a nursing facility or cruise ship, then in the open air. Couple that with the length of time spent with others in the same space.If that is the case, it may be less likely to transmit a virus at a farmer’s market than at a regular grocery store.One safety precaution might be to only allow vendors to touch the produce (or you touch it you buy it), although that would be very hard to enforce. In any case, wash everything thoroughly when you get home-from a grocery store or a farmer’s market.

  • Calires March 6, 2020 (10:02 pm)

    This is the perfect pandemic for Seattle.  Stay at home, don’t interact with anyone, judge those who don’t do the same as you do.  

    • Elle Nell March 6, 2020 (10:23 pm)

      I have to disagree… most everyone I know from here are not worried, but cautious. You must inform yourself… the hysteria is not a normal trait of Seattleites. Rugged and tough… if you know, you know. Do as you please, but do not kick me in the knees. 

      • KM March 7, 2020 (6:41 am)

        It’s not about the hysteria, it’s about the anti-social attitude of many people in Seattle I think the OP was going for. Seattle is not a very friendly or social city.

    • Andy Schneider March 8, 2020 (9:45 am)

      37 year old Seattle native here. That was pretty funny.

  • Elle Nell March 6, 2020 (10:20 pm)

    So glad the market will be open! Will go and get the healthiest produce money can buy to keep my family strong… body and mind.

  • We Are Wuhan March 6, 2020 (10:29 pm)

    I find it increasingly bizarre that so many people on this blog think it’s paranoia or hysteria to want to not catch the coronavirus.

    China’s aggressive response has stemmed the tide but there have been over 3,000 deaths there.

    This is only the beginning for the US and our local governments are not doing enough to slow the spread and this virus can move easily and rapidly as we saw in Wuhan.

    Seattle will be getting more cases in the upcoming weeks as tests ramp up and more people are identified as carriers and yes more people will die.

    Reports from China have shown that children are not immune, that you can catch the virus and be “cured” then catch it again, this just happened in China with a man that was released and died 5 days after. These are facts not hysteria. 

    Yes it sucks local business are going to lose money and people will struggle but being oblivious and thinking washing your hands is enough and just going ahead like everything’s normal is insane to me. 

    Our government could step up and enact measures that help everyone. How about paying local restaurants whose businesses are suffering to make food for those that should be quarantining or paying people whose jobs will be temporarily sidelined to help those at risk and the elderly who shouldn’t be leaving their houses at all, instead of keeping everything open like nothing is happening?

    How about closing the schools during this initial spread or letting families that want to keep their kids at home by offering online or emailed lesson plans?

    It’s time to cancel big gatherings and shut schools for a few weeks. Our policies and soft approach are only going to make things worse in the weeks to come.
    King County Health recommends we don’t gather in large groups over 10 people, yet the money lost from cancelling the Sounders game is making them allow that gathering to take place. To me that is insane and it’s the opposite of what they say but economics are driving their decisions not actual human health.

    South Korea has already tested over 140,000 people and we have tested what a couple of hundred.

    I have a co-worker that had all the symptoms tried to get tested and was turned away from 2 hospitals because of their symptoms yet not offered a test. They are recovering at home but without getting tested will return to work once they are 24 hours with a fever. If they have the coronavirus everyone still in the office would be exposed.

    It’s just so stupid how slow we are being to deal with this.

    I’m working from home I’m stocked up for weeks and I’m not going out anywhere and you can call me paranoid or hysterical if you want but I call myself informed and realistic.https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/03/809904660/why-the-death-rate-from-coronavirus-is-plunging-in-chinahttps://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00154-w (New study showing children are at risk too)https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/02/asia/coronavirus-drive-through-south-korea-hnk-intl/index.html

    • Science27 March 8, 2020 (8:47 am)

      Thanks for this

  • Serious question March 7, 2020 (7:18 am)

    So we’ve been told that people over 60 or folks with compromised systems should stay home, and that If you have traveled internationally or are exhibiting flu like symptoms you should self quarantine. They are closing some, but not all schools/colleges, and some of the larger tech companies are having folks work from home. We have been told to “avoid groups larger than ten”, and some larger events are canceled (like Comic-Con), but sporting events like Sounders games (and school/college sporting events) are still scheduled. What IS the suggested plan for the average person that has no symptoms, is under the age of 50 and not in an at risk group? We obviously still have to get groceries, but are we supposed to avoid going out into public and basically “shelter in place” for an unknown amount of time? Do we avoid going to Pikes Place Market, or walking on crowded downtown streets? Should we avoid Westlake Center and Pacific Place? What about local outdoor markets and other small businesses in West Seattle? Are we supposed to avoid these too? The answer isn’t really clear to me. There were more than 10 people in line when I went to Target and Home Depot earlier in the week. I’m seriously not sure what public officials want us all to do right now. Is it supposed to be “business as usual” if we appear healthy? Is it ok to go to restaurants and movie theaters or is this considered risky at this time? Are we supposed to be limiting human contact if at all possible to prevent the potential spread of the virus? And if so, for how long are we all supposed to limit our exposure and stay home as much as possible?  

  • Brian Hughes March 7, 2020 (7:46 am)

    We are going out to businesses and restaurants while following the hand washing guidelines. If we were sick, we’d stay in – and likely get better. 

  • In a Quandary March 7, 2020 (9:19 am)

    The question I’ve been pondering is not really whether or not school, farmers markets, travel, etc should be cancelled but what is the trigger for knowing that it’s safe to reopen and return? I don’t think anyone knows that yet which is why it’s such a big deal to close something like school indefinitely (not just for a deep cleaning.) what does “containment” look like when there isn’t yet enough testing available?  I don’t think we know yet what the definition of “safe to reopen” is do we? Two weeks isn’t a magic number. Meanwhile – please consider getting a flu shot if you don’t have one. 

  • Tom March 8, 2020 (8:30 am)

    If Trader Joe’s and QFC are open then the farmers markets should be open. Easy decision. 

  • VigilantNotPanicked March 8, 2020 (6:22 pm)

    I’m enjoying the “stay at homers” for the time being. It’s like when i moved to WS 22 years ago…less traffic, less people in the Junction, less people in stores, less people at bars/restaurants (oh wait…there weren’t many bars/restaurants here back then), less frenzied drivers and people in a hurry. I’m loving it.

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