Following an executive order from Gov. Roy Cooper ordering the shutdown of many small businesses, the Carrboro Farmers' Market continues to give local farmers, bakers, craftsmen and more a place to sell their products despite the uncertain future.
Farmers' markets fall under the same classification as grocery stores and are considered to be an essential food source for local communities, according to a press release from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. This means local and state farmers' markets are allowed to remain open.
The Carrboro Farmers' Market wants to facilitate local commerce and provide locally-sourced groceries for as long as possible. Vendors and customers alike are encouraged to participate while employing the appropriate safety precautions.
Abraham Palmer, manager and baker for Box Turtle Bakery, is one of the market's vendors. He said 80 percent of his sales come from the market.
“I feel like I’m resilient in a lot of ways because, from an ingredient perspective, I buy in bulk on a six-month or annual basis,” he said. “But obviously it’s just a one-person operation, so if anybody’s coming down with symptoms in the household, (my) whole operation has to be shut down.”
Palmer said he’s grateful the market is trying to stay open and that it is educating people about the situation. He said he thinks a lot of places aren’t fully acknowledging the problems that the coronavirus poses or aren't handling those problems appropriately.
“There’s a lot of grocery stores and pharmacies that are operating worse than the farmers' market at this point because we try to make an effort to separate things out more widely and educate people,” he explained.
The Graham Family Farm has been bringing produce and other products to the market since 1983. Louis Graham is carrying out this family tradition and now sells meat, produce and a variety of woodwork at the Saturday market, but said he's noticed a change recently.
“We do see fewer customers at the farmers' market,” he said. “I think the stock market crashes and people feeling uncertain about the future has definitely affected the woodworking end. When produce starts coming in, we’ll see if that continues.”