The Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers market joins markets across the country in celebrating National Farmers Market Week from August 2-8, 2020. In the midst of a global pandemic, farmers markets — like all other small businesses — have been scrambling to continue operations for the farmers and communities that depend on them. Market managers have been at the forefront of adapting rapid solutions and innovation to protect staff, customers, and community. When conventional food supply chains failed at the start of the pandemic, farmers markets and local food systems clearly displayed the resiliency of short supply chains and interest in local foods spiked nationwide.
National Farmers Market Week is an annual celebration of farmers markets coordinated by the Farmers Market Coalition, a membership-based 503(c)3 nonprofit organization that supports farmers markets nationwide through training, technical assistance, and network-building. This year, the campaign is centered around the essential role that farmers markets play in the food system as demonstrated by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Fernandina Beach Market Place was established in 2012 and currently hosts several farmers, fisherman, and ranchers selling a wide variety of products, including seasonal produce, fresh beef, pork and chicken, salmon, scallops, and wild caught local shrimp. This year, we have all struggled due to the pandemic with lost revenue, additional costs, and coordinating conflicts with local sanctions on essential businesses. Beginning with a temporary drive-through market in a different location, to returning to North Seventh Street, we have worked hard to overcome many obstacles. We are now open in our regular location with fewer vendors to promote social distancing, we require our vendors to wear facemasks when dealing with customers, and we have added hand sanitizing stations at the farmers market. “This is indeed a community market, and you can sense that when you see how many people are wearing masks, even outdoors, in an effort to protect their neighbors,” said Market Manager Judie Mackie.
“Farmers markets are essential to the life and livelihood of millions of shoppers and tens of thousands of farmers.” says Ben Feldman, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “But farmers markets don’t happen by accident. It takes the planning, organization, and execution of dedicated individuals and community organizations. That work is harder than ever and farmers markets and the vendors who sell at them need all the help they can get.”
The Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers market is open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., rain or shine. We have nearly 30 booths of delicious fresh baked goodies, sauces, pickles, and jams, honey, dips, microgreens, chopped olive salad, gluten free items, soaps, shampoos, natural bug sprays and more. For more information, please find us on Facebook at Amelia Island Market Place.