Bowling Green Area Farmers Market Returns During Pandemic

May 15, 2020

SoKY Marketplace Farmer's Market pavilion
Credit WKU Public Radio

The SoKY Marketplace in Bowling Green is going back to holding its in-person farmer's market on Saturday mornings this month.

The season was set to begin in April, but management pushed it back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Changes made to prevent the spread of COVID-19 include the spacing of stalls by 10 feet, the installation of mobile handwashing stations, and requirements that all vendors wear a mask.

Sarah Cline, director of operations for SoKY Marketplace, said not all sellers feel comfortable setting up this year.

"Last season, we had about 25 vendors out here. And now, we have nine. So it has affected us in that sense. But I'm hoping, when we get on the other side of this, everyone will be ready to go," Cline said.

She said, despite having fewer booths, sales numbers are remaining similar to last year.

That's consistent with what some other sellers taking advantage of the farmer's market's curbside pickup and elivery services are seeing.

Simple Greens LLC is a small farm in Hart County that opted to go that route this spring, rather than set up an in-person booth.

Nichole Nimmo helps her husband, Jordan Shirley, with the operation. She said, as opposed to larger producers, they've been able to get by with relatively small changes like online ordering through email and social media.

"This year, we looked ahead and went, 'You know? Maybe it's okay that we don't make that extra bed we planned on having of X, Y and Z.' We're just trying not to bite off more than we can chew this season and we have that option," Nimmo said.

She said Simple Greens LLC is seeing a similar demand as last year, though she has noticed more cooperation among vendors.