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Portland-area farmers markets find success with drive-through model to maintain social distancing

The Hillsdale Farmers Market, where customers ordered ahead from vendors last Sunday, was such a success that organizers decided to do it again this Sunday.
Credit: The Oregonian
The Oregonian/OregonLive/File

PORTLAND, Ore. — After a weekend of experimentation in new ways to get local food to customers during the coronavirus pandemic, Portland-area farmers markets say they will continue to use a drive-through model.

The Hillsdale Farmers Market, where customers ordered ahead from vendors last Sunday, was such a success that organizers decided to do it again this Sunday, even though no market was scheduled.

“This was supposed to be an off-week for us,” market manager Eamon Molloy said Thursday, “but both customers and farmers asked to add on a market.”

Customers can order ahead with specific vendors and then pick up their orders between 10 a.m. and noon.

The Beaverton Farmers Market’s drive-through market was, “as great as we could have hoped for,” said marketing director Kate Laubernds.

“We will be open again this weekend as a drive/walk-through market,” she said.

This Saturday’s market will feature some improvements, Laubernds said, including a larger footprint and more space between vendors.

The Beaverton market is also suggesting pre-orders, though they are not required.

Laubernds also suggested people come to the market later in the day.

“We were really busy the first couple hours,” she said of last week’s market, “but the last two hours of the market were quiet.”

Other markets are following suit. The Oregon City Farmers Market announced a pre-order drive-through market of their own for this coming Saturday.

One farmers market in the area remains open for regular business -- the Saturday edition of the Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University.

Ian Rose, a spokesperson for the market, said the market would be open again for business this weekend, albeit with safety measures to promote social distancing, like extra space between vendors, to-go food only, and no entertainment.

There is one new change this week, Rose said. “We are asking customers to allow the opening half-hour, 8:30 to 9 a.m. for vulnerable populations.” 

-- Lizzy Acker

503-221-8052, lacker@oregonian.com@lizzzyacker

This article was originally published by The Oregonian/OregonLive, one of more than a dozen news organizations throughout the state sharing their coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak to help inform Oregonians about this evolving health issue.

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