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Marco Island farmer’s market back in service with safety measures

Big box stores have taken precautions to make shopping safer during the pandemic. Farmers markets are following their lead, making sure shopping local and small doesn’t mean compromising people’s health. We learned how a city market in Southwest Florida is operating to keep people safe and also support the livelihoods of its vendors.

There is plenty to be had at Marco Island Farmer’s Market’s 71 booths. But many vendors there have been directly affected by the economic impacts of the pandemic in 2020.

Marco Island Farmer’s Market was back in business Wednesday, where vendors rolled out their goods, and the city ensured it rolled out safety measures for all at the market.

“It’s been rough this year, so we are down about 80%,” explained Chef Sebastian Mazzotta, who is a vendor at the market.

Mazzotta is hoping the farmer’s market can turn things around.

“This market this year especially, we would not be where were at as a company without the farmer’s market,” Mazzotta said. “It’s just kind of keeping us afloat.”

Vendors such as Mazzotta are part of the reason Marco Island put on a farmer’s market this year.

“A lot of our vendors, this is their main income is what they do,” said Samantha Malloy, the manager of parks, recreation and culture for the City of Marco Island.

Malloy says safety measures, including hand sanitizer, vendor masks, t-go food and social distancing, are a priority.

“Stay with your groups 6 feet apart,” Malloy said. “We encourage people to wear masks.”

Barbara and Orin Harris appreciate the precautions.

“Tomatoes and cucumbers and radishes, and we came for a few things, but we are filling up two bags,” Barabara said.

The Harrises love going to the market but haven’t gone out much because of the pandemic.

“We heard that it was going to be spaced out good and everybody, not everybody is wearing masks,” Barbara said. “We’re wearing ours, and we keep our distance all the time.”

The City estimates 2,400 people showed up for the first day of the market Wednesday. It runs weekly on Wednesdays from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Through April 14, 2021.

Chef Mazzotta hopes everyone continues to be safe.

“Because I don’t think any of us can spend 14 days at home,” Mazzotta said.

Reporter:Rachel Cox-Rosen
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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