COVID-19: Are California's farmers markets at risk of getting shut down?

I was just at the Palo Alto California Avenue Farmers’ Market today. Got news that the market operators of the Campbell and Santa Clara markets shut down their market. The Santa Clara Market was shut down because of a miscommunication between governing bodies, though they have permission from the Santa Clara County Health Department to operate. The Campbell market also have the same permission, but the city mandated the closure.

The Palo Alto Cal Ave market operator said he was working all week to keep the market open, and indicated that for now the city let him keep the market open. But he said the decision to close/ open mostly comes from the state level. He said he’ll focus his effort next week to petition the state’s health department to issue clarifying statement and let them continue operate. According to him, a few of the market operators are banding together in this effort.

From my perspective, shutting down farmers’ market without shutting down grocery stores does not make much sense. Shutting down grocery stores, of course, will be quite draconian. The chance of virus spreading in an open air market is smaller than that in an enclosed space like an indoor grocery store. So I am a bit perplexed why farmer’s market closure is considered.

If you shop at farmer’s markets, is your market still open this week? Is a grass root effort (from, for example, us) to keep the markets open needed?

Urban Village Farmers’ Market’s COVID updates:


Campbell Farmers’ Market

Santa Clara (Slated to Reopen next Saturday 3/21)


Fri: Old Oakland
Sat: Castro Valley, Sunnyvale, Willow Glen
Sun: California Ave (Palo Alto), Montclair and Temescal


Berkeley’s farmers markets remain open. They posted the steps they’re taking to prevent virus transmission.

Clement Street Farmer’s Market , Richmond District, San Francisco, was open today, Sunday, 15 March.

Kensington’s Farmers’ Market is open for now.

Castro Valley market was open on Saturday., in response to the just-announced shelter-in-place policy for the 6 counties around SF, says farmers’ market is allowed.

What can I do? What’s open?

Food: Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants ’

This whole coronavirus/ economy thing is quickly going downhill.

From the same link above:

What’s closed?

  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Bars and nightclubs

sigh Stay home.

from the LA Times article:

The immediate concern centers on a backlog in the recruitment of foreign guest workers because of the virus-related shutdown of consul offices processing agricultural H2-A visas in Mexico.

The expected bottleneck in recruitment of temporary agricultural workers arises weeks before harvest time for crops such as strawberries and lettuce that heavily depend on the foreign crews along the state’s central coast and in Salinas Valley, according to growers and labor contractors.

Still seem to be getting my CSA baskets from Capay Valley. But that was a few days ago.

Farm Fresh to You updates

One of those merchants is David Nuñez, owner of Gold Bear Produce. His sales have increased 80 percent because he sells and delivers to markets only, not to restaurants. His clients are from Oakland, Sonoma and Napa counties. He is really busy as customers load their dollies with produce and load boxes into their trucks.

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Thank you! I signed up as a member after reading this thread. I’m impressed at the variety of other products (e.g., meats, snacks, etc.) you can tag onto a produce order. The guarantee you’re gonna get items beats the uncertainties associated with Instacart, or the unavailability of Amazon fresh right now.

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The farmers market at College of San Mateo has been open Saturdays since March 21 in a different parking lot than it normally is. They changed the layout for this week was a little different to make sure that they could maintain social distancing.

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Tomatero Farms is doing temporary farm boxes for $20 with three pick up locations in SF. I just put in an order to pick up in Bernal on Wednesday and will report back.

Also, New England Lobster Company has drive through special on lobsters, $8/lb up to 1.5 lb and $9/lb 1.75 and above.


Really quite a deal for $20, from Tomatero Farms, beautiful organic produce


Lots of things sold out on Farm Fresh to Youthis week, which I don’t recall ever seeing before. Made me order more!


Yup, same stuff was in my box that I just picked up from them. Pretty heavy on the brassicas, though I guess that’s to be expected this time of year. Not being a stickler for organic produce I could probably do a bit better on price with careful hunting at the farmer’s market, but this looks like a solid enough value.

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I went to the Palo Alto California Avenue farmers market every week since the pandemic began. They now instituted lines to get in and out of certain more popular stalls like Tomatero, Borba. Took a while to get in, because even if you only one specific thing, you’ll have to wait your turn in the line. I am ok with that, but the overall business for the market is way down. Sparse crowd. Tough times for the farmers, especially those who don’t have a CSA program.

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Yes, lotta greens. I just made a leek-kale potato soup. Would have preferred to get more strawberries but very happy overall.