RICHMOND, Va. -- In the Richmond metropolitan area, there are currently 21 farmer's markets ready to help you get what you need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"When I would go into the grocery store there was nothing there and I knew I had a resource to get produce here to provide to my customers," said Sandra Berry, owner of Berry's Produce.
Berry says she opened her market's doors early to provide for the community during the Pandemic.
"I wasn't sure what was going to happen," said Berry."Since I've opened the doors, it’s kinda been overwhelming at times. We've always been busy. But it’s like so many more people are coming in now because they want to be in an open air situation versus going into a grocery store."
Dr. Kim Hutchinson of the Virginia Farmer's Market Association agrees.
She tells CBS 6 more people are preferring an open aired location to for their food supplies. She says right now farmers are starting to see the positive increases in revenue from it.
"Farmers have reported that though there is much more of a process involved to getting product to market, farmers have reported that they're seeing five times the sales so far… than they had last year cumulatively," said Hutchinson, Executive Director of the VFMA.
Hutchinson said from the very beginning of the pandemic's effect on the state, VMFA has been working with Governor Northam and his team, to find ways to continue to provide for the community.
"We have changed this model. We're only selling agricultural products, horticultural products and hygiene products,” said Hutchinson. “The only exception to that is that we are selling masks. A lot of the vendors from the markets themselves have been making masks and been selling them at the markets."
Protocols have been put in place at all farmer's markets in Virginia. Things like curbside services, wearing masks and gloves, hand sanitation stations and more.
"I think we've adapted really well to it. And like is said we've done everything that we can to get through this and make it as safe as possible," said Berry.
It’s all in the hopes of keeping a vital part in the community thriving long after the pandemic.
"You're supporting the farmers, you're supporting the farming here in Virginia and their families and the product that you're getting is so much better for you than what you can buy that’s coming through the supply chain," said Hutchinson.
Berry's Produce is open seven days a week and located off Chamberlayne Road in Richmond. For more information, click here.
If you are a local farmer or operating a farmer's market and need assistance, click here, for helpful tips and webinars on how you can operate during COVID-19.
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