FARMERS' markets are remaining open and stallholders and other local producers are offering increased home delivery services amidst the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
The Adelaide Hills Farmers Market, based in Mount Barker, has upped its hygiene measures and is ensuring four square metre per person space requirements are being adhered to after it was deemed the markets were an essential service.
A steady flow of customers snapped up fresh produce at Mount Barker on Saturday, with market director Nikala Sim saying they had fielded significant membership enquiries. She said orders could be placed with stallholders over the phone and picked up, minimising contact.
Some vendors were also offering home deliveries, a valuable service to self-isolators or those vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.
Ms Sim urged people to continue supporting small producers and small businesses during this time.
"It's very important we support our local farmers and producers because it is small business and small business is what keeps our economy going," she said.
She said farmers' markets had hygiene advantages over supermarkets, with an outdoor setting, space and traceability just some of the factors making it a safe shopping environment.
"Based on our market space, we have to provide four square metres per person, hand sanitiser, wash stations and regular waste removal," she said.
"In the supermarket you have to squeeze past somebody in the aisles and we don't know who has touched the goods we're about to pick up, as well as the trolleys and baskets.
"At a farmers' market you're out in the fresh air and the sunshine. You have knowledge the item you're buying has only been touched by a few people.
"You bring your own bags to the market as well, so the human touch transaction is far lower than in most shopping environments."
Ms Sim still recommended shoppers wash their fruit and vegetables once home.
"One of the takeaways from what is happening now is to be far more mindful about hygiene," she said.
Emphasising the importance of local producers and the service they provide was Adelaide Hills Farmers Market vendor Lucy Dodd, who produces grassfed beef and pasture-reared chicken near Bordertown.
She sells fresh chicken products under the Lowan Park Produce label at the Adelaide Hills Farmers Market and Limestone Coast Farmers Market, with home deliveries made to both locals and buyers as far afield as Gawler and the Adelaide Hills.
Ms Dodd said there had been an upswing in orders and delivery requests in the present environment, and she had also been delivering to those who couldn't venture out.
"Most customers are people that already knew I was in business and offered delivery services," she said.
"They're ordering a few more chickens each to stock up their freezers.
"I've also being doing deliveries to people who have chosen to be in isolation due to their particular health and lifestyle backgrounds - responding to those who can't get out and about to get their own food supplies."
Ms Dodd said most of her customers were believers in buying local and that belief was as strong as ever during the current health crisis.
"Knowing products are local and trusting the product hasn't been through too many hands, hasn't been imported, and having no question about where that food is coming from, is important to people more than ever."
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